Denver Riggleman.
Screenshot: CRTV (YouTube)

A Republican candidate for a House seat in Virginia would like everyone to know that an old Instagram post of his featuring a drawing of a very nude and very well equipped Bigfoot does not signify his erotic interest in cryptids.

Per Vox, Fifth Congressional District candidate and retired Air Force intelligence officer Denver Riggleman, who is running for vacating Representative Tom Garrett’s seat, is clarifying his position on Bigfoot’s dick after Democratic opponent Leslie Cockburn dredged up one of his Instagram posts featuring the drawing with the caption “Cover art for #matinghabitsofbigfoot almost complete. I hide nothing in this magnificent tome. Don’t erase the censor box...” That book appears to be fictional, though Riggleman is the co-author of “a self-published 2006 book called Bigfoot Exterminators, Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006” that was on Amazon, Vox wrote.

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Virginia newspaper the Daily Progress reported that Riggleman insists the image did not originate with “Bigfoot erotica” (doubtful!) and that it was a practical joke by his military friends playing on his Bigfoot-related writings. In a video interview with right-wing network CRTV on Monday flagged by Vox, Riggleman dug the hole a little deeper by claiming he’s fighting for “the freedom to believe in any type of Bigfoot you want,” apparently including one with a huge schlong.

In the clip Riggleman, who appears to be now very much on the defensive about Bigfoot’s penis, explained his interest in cryptids is strictly academic. He proceeded to rattle off a list of pseudoscientific theories about Bigfoot’s origins as well as ones that do not appear to take into account science whatsoever:

It’s thought that, um, listen I love to pander to Bigfoot voters but we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about him right now... I’m skeptical. Um, just to let everyone know, I’m skeptical, but there’s you know almost like this religious war between Bigfoot believers, yeah, the BE’s... I came up with this myself, again, the biological entity believers who believe that Bigfoot’s either descended from gigantopithecus blacki, and that, you know, which is the big ape, or homo erectus, which is, you know, it’s a man, baby. So you know you have, you know, these, you know these different ones and even they hate each other because you know Bigfoot can attack you with infrasound, like an elephant, I’m just gonna let you know. Or psychic terror vibes, right, to make you run through the woods and crash into a tree so they can drag you into the woods and create baby Bigfoots.

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That bit about forcibly creating baby Bigfoots with people captured by its “psychic terror vibes” isn’t exactly reassuring, but okay.

Riggleman went on to explain that he finds the Bigfoot believer community “incredible” and emphasize that the whole controversy really shows his free-speech credentials:

And then you have, um, the people who believe in the mythical Bigfoot... who’s protecting from the Dracos in the 264, 264 million year war. And they’re like interdimensional long jumpers, right. They can jump in and out, you can’t see ‘em. Then you have the Magic Man theory which is sort of the Native American mythology that he can take you with his eyes and lead you into the woods. It’s the protector of the environment. And then you have the interstellar theory, which UFO is like a Bigfoot hitchhiker, right. They drop him off, he’s here like “Hey what’s going on.” And he could beam up or down so you can’t kill him. So you have all these Bigfoot belief systems and I just found it incredible that they actually believe this.

And I think that, I love the fact that I’m fighting for the freedom to people, that I fought for that freedom that you can believe in any type of Bigfoot that you want. You know, what is the true Bigfoot?

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Glad that’s all settled, then. Though as flagged by the Daily Beast, Riggleman’s book does have some passages that seem uncomfortable in the current context:

In the short epic, written with Don Barone, a former writer for ESPN, there are passages including the narrator touching “Bigfoot Balls” with a walking stick; Denver getting an “ass massage;” a reference to baiting Bigfoot with “menstrual blood;” and an assertion that “Bigfoots like sex too.”

Less funny than the fact that Riggleman is now explaining at length that his love of Bigfoot is strictly PG-13 are his politics.

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Cockburn has emphasized how Riggleman dodged questions about whether he plans to campaign alongside the Republican candidate for a Virginia Senate seat, Corey Stewart, who happens to be a far-right neo-Confederate who denies the Civil War was primarily about slavery. Cockburn has also called attention to the time Riggleman was caught campaigning with white supremacist Isaac Smith, who co-founded the racist Unity and Security for America think tank with Jason Kessler, the organizer of the notorious neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

On Monday, it was revealed that Stewart’s spokesperson Rick Shaftan also forgot to delete a number of old posts, namely racist tweets about “crazed black people” and calling majority-black cities “shitholes.”

According to Vox, Riggleman has largely been relying on just having “Republican” next to his name on the ballot in the midterms, with a campaign site that does not have an issues section and a Twitter account full of vague posts supporting Donald Trump’s tax cuts and agriculture. Though the district he is running has historically voted GOP, Vox wrote, Republicans are facing a tough midterm year thanks to how they’ve governed the country since consolidating power in 2016 and Stewart is likely to prove a drag on the GOP ticket across the state.

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In any case, this is a good reminder that if you don’t want to have to record a lengthy video explaining that you do not find Bigfoot sexually desirable, delete your old social media posts before running for Congress.

[Vox]