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Denver Riggleman Beats out Leslie Cockburn for 5th District Seat

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Denver Riggleman at his victory party at Blue Mountain Denver Riggleman at his victory party at Blue Mountain
Leslie Cockburn addressed her supporters at Three Notch'd Leslie Cockburn addressed her supporters at Three Notch'd
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Republican Denver Riggleman has defeated Democrat Leslie Cockburn to keep a closely watched Virginia congressional seat in the hands of the GOP.

Riggleman, an Air Force veteran and distillery owner, announced his candidacy after incumbent Republican Tom Garrett announced he is an alcoholic and ended his re-election bid.

He narrowly won a closely divided nominating convention and was outspent in the race by Cockburn, a journalist and former "60 Minutes" producer.

He also overcame skepticism from cultural conservatives in his own party who disliked his acceptance of gay marriage and other variations from GOP orthodoxy on social issues.

On Tuesday, November 6, Riggleman supporters gathered at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton to celebrate his win.

"There's a time I think when everybody has to fight, there's a time when you have three, really, positions you can take when you're going against sort of this overreach of government and what they're trying to do on this liberty movement," Riggleman said. "You can be in the fetal position and accept what's happening, you can run away, or you can fight and right now in the 5th District, this is the fighting 5th, liberty lives here."

When asked if he hopes to serve in Congress long-term, Riggleman said he does not plan to do it for the remainder of his working life but rather he wants to serve long enough to make a difference before handing off the reins to someone else.

People also gathered at Three Notch'd Brewing Company in Charlottesville to hear from Cockburn as she gave her concession speech.

She, like Riggleman, is a first-time political candidate and dozens showed up to give their condolences.

Cockburn and her daughter actress Olivia Wilde had been busy campaigning in Charlottesville in the days leading up to the election.

"I wish him well, and I hope that he can do something positive on Capitol Hill," Cockburn said. "Now, coming back to the people in this room, I have to say that this was such an exciting thing for me to experience. We really did change this district."

The 5th District stretches from the outskirts of northern Virginia, through Charlottesville, down to southside Virginia, and the North Carolina line.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.