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Former Sen. John Warner, longtime dean of Virginia's GOP, says he supports Cockburn

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Leslie Cockburn with former Sen. John Warner

Leslie Cockburn, an investigative journalist and Democratic candidate for the 5th District congressional seat in the Nov. 6 election, has won the support of former U.S. Sen. John Warner, a Republican.

Former Sen. John Warner, who spent 30 years representing Virginia as a Republican, is lending his support to Leslie Cockburn, a Democrat and former investigative journalist vying to represent the 5th District in the U.S. House.

Warner endorsed Sen. Tim Kaine, also a Democrat, in his race against GOP nominee Corey Stewart in September. Warner appeared with Cockburn and Sen. Mark Warner (D) at a fundraiser at Kinloch Farm in The Plains Saturday.

“I’m still a Republican. I’m going to tell this gang, I’m still a Republican,” the elder Warner said in an interview before the event. “You can’t take that away from me. But you’ve got to have the courage to do what’s right for the country and what’s right for your state.”

Warner, 91, took out his iPhone to scroll through Cockburn’s platform as he talked about why he’s publicly backing Cockburn over her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman.

Warner called Cockburn “an exceptional candidate” and said he agreed with her positions on health care, education and “commonsense gun laws.”

“I’ve got a closet full of guns,” said the Navy and Marine Corps veteran who served in both World War II and the Korean War. “I know guns pretty well. And there’s things we’ve got locked in, they’re just wrong. I don’t know how were going to break that one.”

Warner, who spent years in Fauquier County while he served as secretary of the U.S. Navy and later as senator, spoke of his love for the state. After attending Sen. John McCain’s funeral, Warner said he revised his will to dictate his ashes be “spread over the valley” in Virginia.

Warner said his endorsement of Kaine is rooted in his lifelong friendship with Kaine’s father-in-law, former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, the first Republican elected Virginia governor in the 20th Century. Warner said he also worked closely with Kaine when he was in the Senate and Kaine was governor to secure federal funding for the Woodrow Wilson bridge and Metro’s silver line. 

Warner acknowledged the political tide might be turning in Virginia but called the state “fundamentally conservative.”

 “The state stands for firm principles and leans a little bit on the progressive side,” he said.

Cockburn, who served on the board of the Piedmont Environmental Council for a decade, said her strong support for land conservation and environmental-protection issues has won her support among rural Virginia’s more moderate Republicans.

“There are many people who would consider that their very top issue,” Cockburn said of conservation. “And that’s why they would gravitate to me.”

Reach Jill Palermo at

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(6) comments


Cockburn is another clinton/kaine supporter. You can't get any more anti Virginia than that. Kaine's son is a domestic terrorist. Kaine closed our rest areas. Kaine ended Project Exile, the only known gun control program to actually work.

Concerned citizen

How come there are no articles about Cockburn's book signing tour? The one where she proudly said she lives in Georgetown and New York. Not one mention of Virginia. Even her tax records from DC show she is getting tax cuts for claiming that as her primary residence. Now she is using her Rappahannock retreat to claim she is a proud Virginian? If you think she is going to represent hard working middle class citizens and not become a Soros puppet in Congress, better think again!

People need to learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid instead of cowering to the fear mongering of the far left. Medicare is part of Social Security and fully funded by a payroll tax and managed by the federal govt. Medicaid is to help those that are poverty stricken, partially funded by the federal govt. but managed by each state. What is being proposed is a cap on federal funds to each state. If your state wants to provide care for illegal immigrants it can; it just needs to be funded by that state's taxpayers, not federally.

Had the Democrats taken the time to construct the ACA instead of passing it before anyone had read it, it wouldn't be a big issue. However, letting lobbyists for big pharma and insurance write a bill is problematic in many ways. Health insurance should also be handled at the state level, not federally. One just needs to look at what the feds did to our veterans healthcare through poor management.

The GOP allowed the tea party to overtake its party and agenda. They were shot down quickly by the voters, as they should have. Unfortunately the DNC took that as an opportunity to allow far left to take over theirs, and have proven they are more interested in catering to illegals as a power grab than problems confronting the hard working middle class. Most American citizens are middle of the roaders, and it is time to vote republican in hopes of returning the DNC back to its former self before it is too late.


I noticed that you have not attempted to address the issues I raised in my comments, but I will attempt to address some of yours. You rightfully state that there is a difference between Medicare and Medicaid, but your argument that all the Republicans are suggesting is a "cap" on federal funding for states to support Medicaid is not supported by the facts. If you look at the comments made by Mitch McConnell to Bloomberg and Reuters, as discussed in an LA Times article on October 19 and a Newsweek article on October 16 you will see that McConnell has stated that he wants to "adjust" i.e., cut back both Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security. Why? In order to address the enormous increase in the federal deficit which, according to the Congressional Budget Office is mostly due to "recently enacted legislation changes . . . In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax cut." Now if you will remember, McConnell initially claimed that these tax cuts would pay for themselves. He was obviously wrong, and now he wants to pay for them by cutting benefits to the most needy Americans (no, not illegal immigrants). Speaking of illegal immigrants, Medicaid indeed is designed to help the poor in our society -- and its benefits largely go to the elderly and poor. Americans, not illegals. Moreover, the Medicaid program has been called one of the most effective tools against the opioid crisis by the AMA. Yes, as I have stated in my comment, there are problems with the AMA that need to be addressed. But you cannot lay the blame for them entirely at the feet of the Democrats. If you remember, the Democrats were initially pushing for a single payer system. It was because of pressure from the Republicans and industry lobbyists for a "market oriented" program that it assumed the form it has today. But Republicans could have legislated improvements to the Act rather than simply trying to sabotage it. They didn't for purely political reasons and we are all suffering the consequences. Voting GOP will not be a solution for these problems.


Sorry, I was referring to problems with the ACA, not the AMA in my comments.


I would like to address at least some of your comments. You are right that there is a difference between Medicare and Medicaid, but I think you are wrong when you state that the Republicans are only interested in placing a "cap" on federal funds to state Medicaid programs. Mitch McConnell in an interview to Bloomberg and Reuters announced that besides intensifying attempts to eliminate Obamacare, if Republicans retain control of Congress he will try to "adjust" (i.e., cut back) both Medicare and Medicaid as well as Social Security. Why? In order to address the enormous increase in the federal deficit which, according to the Congressional Budget Office can be largely attributed to "recently enacted legislative changes . . . In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act." (See the LA Times, Oct 19 and Newsweek, Oct 16). Of course when the tax act was enacted McConnell said that they would pay for themselves in increased GNP. He was wrong and now he wants to pay for them by cutting federal benefits to the most needy Americans. As far as Medicaid goes, it is a program designed to help the poor and most of its benefits go to seniors and poor American households -- not illegal immigrants. And the AMA considers the Medicaid program to be one of the most important tools in combatting the opioid crisis. As far as Obamacare is concerned, admittedly there are problems. But it would be unfair to lay the blame for these problems entirely at the feet of Democrats. The Democrats were initially in favor of a single payer system. It was because of pressure from the Republicans and industry lobbyists to have a "market oriented" plan that we got the program we now have. Republicans could have legislated improvements to the Act. Instead they have tried repeatedly to sabotage it for purely political reasons. I would be all in favor of repealing the ACA if Republicans can come up with a better solution, but so far they haven't, and I do not think that making it difficult or impossible for millions of Americans to get health insurance is the way forward. Voting GOP won't help solve the problems we face.


I think there are a number of Republicans who will support Leslie Cockburn this year, because there are a number of Republicans who, while conservative, still believe in the values that made America great. Mr. Riggleman, her opponent, says he is a "fiscal conservative" who wants to eliminate the federal deficit. He claims that tax cuts don't create deficits, government spending does. Well, I've got news for him: both do, and according to an article in the Chicago Tribune on September 24, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that within the next decade the recent Republican tax cut will have added more than 1.8 trillion dollars to the federal deficit – $1 trillion by 2020 -- and that figure is even after taking into account the tax cut’s economic stimulus. Mr. Riggleman's answer for that: he will offset the deficit by eliminating fraud and waste in the federal budget, is nonsense. I, for one, am totally in favor of steps to eliminate fraud and waste wherever it occurs. But there is no way simply eliminating fraud and waste will make more than an insignificant dent in a $1.8 trillion dollar deficit increase!No, in order to address a deficit increase of this magnitude Congress will have to make deep cuts in federal programs. Mr. Riggleman knows this. And which programs are likely to be cut? Mitch McConnell has recently declared that if Congress remains in Republican hands he intends to cut back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to address the deficit. It would be bad enough if all of this were necessary in order to give Middle Class Americans a well-deserved tax break. But economists agree that the tax cuts have largely benefitted the rich and corporations. And lest you believe that the corporate tax cut has resulted in significant job growth you should read an article in MONEY on May 17 in which it quoted Morgan Stanley as predicting that workers overall would likely get only 13% of the corporate tax windfall while 43% would go to investors in the form of stock buybacks and dividend increases. No, there is no way anyone can argue that this tax cut will benefit middle class Americans. And to top it off, the Republicans are intensifying their campaign to eliminate Obamacare. I agree that the ACA has problems that need to be addressed – not the least of which is the fact that insurers are allowed to reap record profits at the expense of consumers. But Republicans have shown no interest in fixing these problems. Instead, they simply want to sabotage it. They have already sabotaged it by eliminating the individual mandate, removing young, healthy individuals from the rolls and leaving the sick, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions to face higher premiums. And recently 16 Republican governors initiated a lawsuit in Texas to have the ACA declared unconstitutional -- including the provisions covering pre-existing conditions. Riggleman supports eliminating the ACA. However, his suggestion that the health care problem can be addressed by allowing more competition among insurance providers is a non-starter. This might lower rates for young, healthy individuals but it will not help the elderly, the sick and those with pre-existing conditions. It would be OK to eliminate the ACA if Republicans could come up with a better system, but so far they haven't, and just denying coverage to millions of Americans is not my idea of good government.Mr. Riggleman, as a self proclaimed business and financial expert with “real life” experience behind him, should know all this. But he doesn’t seem to care. He said that if elected he will join the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right Republicans that advocates unbridled capitalism and opposed nearly every government regulation, even those that prevent Wall Street from engaging in the type of practices that led to the economic meltdown of 2008 and those that protect the environment from pollution. They seem to want a return to the era of the Industrial Revolution, where there were no regulations to protect the health and safety of workers or to guarantee them a living wage. Riggleman should know that unbridled capitalism is just as bad as unbridled socialism, and neither is good for the US. His policies and priorities are simply unfair, and wrong for Virginians as well as for all Americans -- something Republicans like John Warner understand.

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