Cockburn confident of first ballot nomination at convention

Virginia 5th District Democratic congressional hopeful Leslie Cockburn needed 126 delegates solidly in her corner when the last of the district’s 23 party caucuses concluded over the weekend, and the Rappahannock County resident got all of that support and more.

“With 140 delegates, we have more than enough to win on the first ballot in Farmville,” Cockburn tells the Rappahannock News, referring to the party’s nominating convention scheduled for May 5th. “I am thrilled at the thousands of people who came out to support us in the 23 caucuses.

“Thank you Rappahannock for such great support,” she says to neighbors here. “We had big wins throughout the southern counties, including Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax, Campbell, Bedford and Danville. We took Albemarle, Fauquier and Nelson, too.

“Our total was 140 delegates, more than twice the number gained by the nearest contender. Now it is time to show a unified front . . . in Farmville. Ben Cullop tells me he is ready to get to work. Together, we all can beat Tom Garrett.”

Cullop, who dropped out of the race more than a week ago after receiving no delegate support in initial caucus voting, pledged at the recent Rappahannock County Candidates’ Forum at the Little Washington Theatre that he would fully support the district’s eventual Democratic nominee. Besides Cockburn, candidates Andrew Sneathern, an attorney, and Roger Dean Huffstetler, an entrepreneur and former Marine, remain in the race.

Meanwhile, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has endorsed Cockburn in her congressional bid.

“Leslie Cockburn is an accomplished journalist who has spent her career holding government officials accountable to the people they serve, and plans to do the same when elected to office,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List.

“A proud resident of Rappahannock County, Leslie has served on local conservation boards and has fought against energy policies that would be harmful to the environment. Leslie is running to fight for Virginians in Congress and ensure that working families’ and senior citizens’ voices are heard in Washington.”

Schriock labeled freshman Republican Rep. Tom Garrett “a far-right member . . . whose extreme views do not represent the people he was elected to serve. While he’s tried to cut critical funding for health care while voting for corporate tax cuts, Leslie is running to protect health care and expand economic opportunities for hardworking Virginians.”

EMILY’s List, since its founding in 1985, has raised over $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates. The organization says it has helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, it says it has been contacted by thousands of women interested in running for local, state and national offices.

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