A Republican congressional candidate who earlier in the campaign defended sharing explicit depictions of Bigfoot on social media startled a debate crowd with a sexual comment during his closing remarks Thursday night.
Denver Riggleman, the GOP’s candidate for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, drew murmurs, scattered laughs and then a chorus of boos after he made the off-color remark while talking about his Democratic opponent, Leslie Cockburn.
“I don’t really want to rebut what Leslie said. And I don’t want to go back into who lives where and who does what,” Riggleman said. “I almost said something like, ‘Who does who,’ but that would be inappropriate.”
After the crowd reacted, Riggleman said, “It was a joke that — that was just my words getting mixed up.”
Earlier in the evening, Riggleman also called Medicare a ”giveaway” but called a hypothetical poor family’s savings from the Republican tax bill a “lifesaver.”
“When you come from Medicare, when you come from being poor — my mom is sitting here — when you come from a cardboard box with a sheet on it, $60 a week could be a life-saver,” Riggleman said of the tax law.
He said voters would reward the GOP because they want “more money in their pocket and less giveaways,” like Medicare. “I don’t believe we should be giving tax money that you earn to anyone.”
Hours before the debate, which was held at Madison County High School, a Republican National Committee memo surfaced that conceded the tax plan was unpopular because most voters see it as benefiting “large corporations and rich Americans” more than “middle class families.”
Riggleman’s campaign has been marked by other idiosyncratic behavior.
In July, it was reported that Riggleman posted on Instagram sketches of Bigfoot with an emphasis on the mythical creature’s genitals.
Cockburn told CBS News the drawings were “very disturbing,” referring to them as “Bigfoot erotica.”
Riggleman said in interviews it was all a misunderstood joke, but he does have a genuine interest in Bigfoot.
Riggleman co-authored the self-published book “Bigfoot Exterminators Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006” and was planning to write another book, “The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.”
“My book is a political allegory,” he told Rolling Stone about his new work. “I’d thought I’d self publish it. To me, it’s just hilarious.”