Two more Democrats join 5th District race | Politics

Just before the first round of quarterly campaign finance reports were released by three candidates in next year’s 5th Congressional District race, two more Democrats joined the nomination contest.

Ben Cullop, of Albemarle County, and Leslie Cockburn, of Rappahannock County, filed for candidacy on July 2 and 13, respectively, according to the Federal Election Commission’s website.

They join Marine veteran Roger Dean Huffstetler, attorney and former prosecutor Andrew Sneathern and Adam Slate, who works for the University of Virginia Health System. All three are residents of Charlottesville.

Cockburn, a journalist, filmmaker and author, announced her candidacy at events in Nelson and Rappahannock counties last weekend, according to the Rappahannock News. Some of her key platforms include improving health care, bolstering women’s rights and increasing the minimum wage.

“There has never been a more critical time to stand up and fight for good government,” according to Cockburn’s campaign website. “The 5th District of Virginia needs someone in Congress with proven experience in holding Washington’s feet to the fire.”

Cullop told WKBY 1080 AM, a radio station in Chatham, last week that he is focusing on health care, jobs and the economy, among other things.

On Saturday, the campaigns of Huffstetler, Sneathern and Slate all filed quarterly fundraising and spending reports to the FEC.

Huffstetler has raised more than $336,553.78, according to documents filed on the FEC’s website. His campaign has spent $66,108.58.

Several of the donations to Huffstetler’s campaign come from outside of Virginia.

“Roger’s career not only in the military but also in tech and business have taken him around the country and around the world, and we’re very, very happy and proud that the people that he’s met along the way are willing to support him in his new endeavor,” said Kevin Zeithaml, spokesman for Huffstetler’s campaign.

Sneathern raised $68,622.16 and spent $4,869. His campaign received more than 100 donations, with 80 percent of them coming from Virginia and 75 percent from within the 5th District, according to an email from his campaign.

Slate, who raised $4,050.22 and spent $954.32, said his campaign so far has been focused on messaging and getting out into all of the localities in the 5th District.

“We have not focused on raising from large donors as of now, and we want to continue to have grassroots donations be a big component of our campaign,” he said. “We don’t plan to be influenced by big money.”

All five candidates are running for a chance to unseat Republican Tom Garrett, who was elected to his first term in Congress in 2016.

In the recent filing quarter, Garrett raised $43,175 and spent $58,989.84.

Garrett is one of nine incumbent candidates in congressional districts nationwide rated “competitive” by the Cook Political Report and who were outraised by challengers, according to Politico.

But falling behind most of the Democratic candidates in fundraising doesn’t appear to phase the freshman congressman, who won last year’s race by double digits.

“Since swearing in, I have focused my efforts on setting up my office and serving the people of the 5th Congressional District,” Garrett said in a statement. “Raising money will come later.”

The next FEC filing deadline is Oct. 15.