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 TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' 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: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info 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."