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Riggleman endorses Spanberger, continuing a long line of cross-party endorsements in Virginia

A screenshot from the new ad.

As the race for Congress heats up, one prominent Republican is throwing his support behind a Democrat.

"This is not a typical political ad. I'm a Republican congressman saying nice things about a Democrat..."

That's former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman in a new ad endorsing incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger. Riggleman lost his seat after officiating a gay wedding, then became an adviser to the January 6th Committee. Now he's participating in what Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says is a long tradition in Virginia politics.

"If you look back to the days when Senator John Warner was active in Virginia politics, for example, you really did see a real concern about conservative Republicans undermining the state of the party as well as not being the best choice for the country," explains Farnsworth.

Former Senator John Warner ended up endorsing a number of Democrats, including Mark Warner and Hillary Clinton.

And the trend of cross-party endorsements isn't a one way street. Back in the late 1960’s, Democratic state senator Henry Howell ended up helping Republican Linwood Holton become governor of Virginia.

Now Riggleman is hoping his endorsement might help Spanberger in her campaign against Republican Yesli Vega.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.