Here's Why 'Bigfoot Erotica' Is at the Center of a Congressional Race in Virginia

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock (8174499b) Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Denver Riggleman, speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond Governor's Race Dominion, Richmond, USA - 31 Jan 2017 Riggleman addressed the killing of bill that would bar political contributions from regulated monopolies. Donald Trump's path to the presidency included the unusual step of attacking individual major companies, like retailers Macy's and Amazon. Now insurgent candidates in Virginia's gubernatorial race ? one of the most closely watched contests of 2017 ? are employing the same technique. Their target: energy giant Dominion Resources, who critics says uses its political leverage to abuse property rights and overcharge its customers for electricity. Dominion, the biggest corporate donor in Virginia politics, says its customers are happy with its service

The 2018 midterm elections have been fraught with headline-making controversies, but the race in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District has brought a particularly unusual topic to prominence: “Bigfoot erotica.”

On Sunday, Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn accused her Republican rival Denver Riggleman of being a “devotee of Bigfoot Erotica.”

Cockburn, a 65-year-old former investigative journalist, tweeted an image from Riggleman’s Instagram of a naked drawing of the mythical creature Bigfoot with a black “censored” box over his crotch. Cockburn also alleged that Riggleman is aligned with a white supremacist.

“My opponent Denver Riggleman, running mate of Corey Stewart, was caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist. Now he has been exposed as a devotee of Bigfoot erotica,” Cockburn wrote. “This is not what we need on Capitol Hill.”

Riggleman, a former Air Force veteran and brewery owner who has written a book on Bigfoot, denied all the charges in an interview with CNN, claiming Cockburn’s suggestion that he has a “sexual interest in Bigfoot” was “absurd” and explaining that his comments on the subject were rooted in an ongoing joke with former military friends.

“I think we probably jumped the shark on stupid,” Riggleman said.

In addition to writing a self-published book called Bigfoot Exterminators, Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006, Riggleman has written multiple social media posts focusing on Bigfoot and the creature’s genitalia.

Cockburn shared another one of Riggleman’s posts that featured a nude drawing of Big Foot with a picture of Riggleman’s face pasted over the creature’s head.

“My ‘buddies’ thought this pic was fitting for my birthday next week and to celebrate my new book release in about a month or 2… ‘Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him…”, Riggleman captioned the post.

The “Bigfoot erotica” controversy throws a new obstacle into Cockburn’s campaign to win Virginia’s 5th congressional district, which has long been dominated by Republicans (Donald Trump in 2016, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Ed Gillespie in the 2017 gubernatorial race). He has also come under fire for his ties to white nationalism.

Riggleman has campaigned alongside neo-confederate Corey Stewart, a Republican Senate candidate for Virginia who publicly endorsed Paul Nehlen, a white supremacist and former congressional candidate in Wisconsin. Cockburn’s tweet referred to Riggleman being caught campaigning with Isaac Smith, co-founder of a white nationalist group called “Unity & Security for America.” Riggleman has denied Cockburn’s claims that he was “caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist” and that he was a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica.” He also recently wrote an op-ed The Roanoke Times denouncing neo-Nazis as “cultural parasites.”

But Riggleman made light of the Bigfoot controversy on Monday, sharing a video of himself explaining what he calls the various “Bigfoot belief systems.”

“Check out this video on my research into the Bigfoot myth. I sure don’t know what Bigfoot Erotica is, @LeslieCockburn knows more about that than I do apparently – but I can talk about Bigfoot theories all day,” the candidate tweeted.

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