Ex-GOP senator endorses Democrat in Virginia House race

Ex-GOP senator endorses Democrat in Virginia House race
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Former Republican Sen. John Warner (Va.) is endorsing Democratic House candidate Leslie Cockburn in her bid to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’m still a Republican,” Warner said on Saturday before a fundraiser west of Washington, D.C., according to the Fauquier Times. “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.”

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Cockburn, a former producer for "60 Minutes," is vying to replace Rep. Tom Garrett (R) in Virginia's 5th Congressional District. She is in a race against GOP candidate Denver Riggleman, whom President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE endorsed on Monday. 

Warner, who held a U.S. Senate seat from 1979 to 2009, called Cockburn “an exceptional candidate” and added that he agreed with her views on health care, education and “commonsense gun laws.”

“I know guns pretty well. And there’s things we’ve got locked in, they’re just wrong. I don’t know how we're going to break that one," Warner, who was U.S. secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974, said. 

The Fauquier Times notes that Warner has also extended his support to Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Overnight Defense: What the midterms mean for defense panels | Pompeo cancels North Korea meeting | Trump eyes Kim summit in early 2019 | Pentagon drops name for border mission Five takeaways from a divisive midterm election MORE's (D-Va.) bid for reelection against GOP nominee Corey Stewart.

He said his endorsement of the Democrat was rooted in his friendship with Kaine’s father-in-law, Linwood Holton. Holton served as governor of Virginia from 1970 to 1974. 

The Cook Political Report rates the race between Cockburn and Riggleman as "lean Republican." 

The forecaster rates Kaine's seat as "solid Democratic."