Retiring GOP Congressman Backs Libertarian Presidential Candidate Over Trump

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) will vote for Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson in November, taking a formal pass on backing his party’s nominee, Donald Trump.

In an interview with the New York Times Saturday, Rigell said he is “going to vote for the Libertarian candidate,” adding:

“I’ve always said I will not vote for Donald Trump and I will not vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Rigell, who announced his intention to retire from Congress in January, said he will become an Independent upon leaving the House, formally severing his ties to the Republican Party. 

Earlier this week, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) pledged to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in lieu of supporting Trump. Hanna, like Rigell, is also finishing his final term in Congress and not seeking reelection.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) — Image Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) — Image Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Rigell, who represents the district with the highest concentration of active duty and retired military personnel, previously backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in his bid for the Republican nomination.

But he has since become a resource for Republicans facing uncertainty about supporting the billionaire.

“When their own conscience is seared by some statement that Trump has made, I have encouraged them to be direct and also, in a timely manner, repudiate what he said,” Rigell told the Times. “People will respect it if you have a reason and you put it out there.”

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