Dems select April 28 for 5th District nominating convention

Garrett welcomes Northam as Virginia’s governor

Rappahannock County’s Leslie Cockburn, one of four Democratic candidates vying for the nomination to unseat freshman Republican Rep. Tom Garrett in November’s midterm election, has received notification that the 5th Congressional District Democratic Committee will hold its nominating convention on Saturday, April 28.

The exact location of the convention, during which the Democratic Party will select its nominee to the U.S. House of Representatives race, has yet to be determined.

“In advance of the convention, each county, Danville, and Charlottesville will hold caucuses to elect delegates to go to the convention,” Cockburn explains to her supporters. “All registered voters are encouraged to participate in their local caucus. The dates and locations for these caucuses will be decided by the end of the month.”

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who represents the sprawling 5th District that includes Rappahannock County, had some kind words for incoming Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, who takes the oath of office this Saturday, Jan. 13.

In a telephone interview Tuesday evening from Capitol Hill, Garrett, a former state senator and assistant attorney general, told the Rappahannock News: “It’s hard not to like Ralph Northam even if you don’t agree with him.”

“Northam, ideologically, is a lot like [outgoing Gov. Terry] McAuliffe, and I like both of them,” Garrett said.

Compared to Capitol Hill, he explained, it is more common for Richmond lawmakers to work across party lines.

“That’s one thing I miss about Richmond,” said the GOP congressman, who represented southern Virginia’s 22nd District in the state Senate.

Garrett recalled one time last year in the U.S. House when he refused to support several Republican revisions to a higher ed bill and “it was like I somehow crossed some sacred line.”

In Richmond, comparably, it’s not uncommon for there to be “Democrat and Republican defectors, and that is what people expect from government. You sit down and figure out, ‘OK, what are the areas that I agree . . . what commonality do we have . . . and what can we accomplish here . . . to get on the same page.’”

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at