In a Congressional first, retiring Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) endorsed Gary Johnson on Friday, becoming the first member of Congress to express support for a third-party candidate. "I’ve always said I will not vote for Donald Trump and I will not vote for Hillary Clinton," he said during an interview with The New York Times. "I’m going to vote for the Libertarian candidate."
Rigell, who emphasized he would never vote for Trump, says others Republicans have come to him about separating himself from the nominee's campaign. "When their own conscience is seared by some statement that Trump has made, I have encouraged them to be direct and also, in a timely manner, repudiate what he said. People will respect it if you have a reason and you put it out there."
The retiring congressman still considers himself a Republican, but won't if the Party becomes synonymous with Trump in a lasting enough way. Then "I'll be an independent," Rigell said.
Rigell is supporting Johnson despite their differing views on social issues including religious liberty, abortion, and same-sex marriage.
Johnson has been hoping for a key endorsement to help boost his poll numbers to 15 percent so that he may qualify for the presidential debates.