U.S. Rep. Wittman defeats Riedel in 1st District Republican primary

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman has defeated challenger Anthony Riedel in the 1st District Republican primary on Tuesday, with early returns showing the incumbent holding a wide lead.

Wittman is a former field director for the Virginia Health Department's Division of Shellfish Sanitation and member of the state House of Delegates. He was first elected to Congress in 2007. His campaign had more than $1 million on hand, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

"I'm very humbled and honored to be the Republican nominee," Wittman said. He said he feels confident about his chances in November.

Riedel is the spokesman for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and has never held public office. Riedel raised about $23,000. During the campaign, he criticized Wittman for not being conservative enough.

On Tuesday night, Riedel issued a statement congratulating Wittman on a clean campaign focused on the issues.

"While we came up short tonight, the cause of liberty will march on," he said.

Wittman will face Democrat Norm Mosher, who previously served on Irvington's town council in the general election. Libertarian Xavian Draper also signaled his intent to run.

In a news release announcing his candidacy, Mosher said he is a former Navy officer and U.S. Senate staffer and who founded a company that makes large power catamarans.

"I want to restore people's faith in America and the American Dream," Mosher said. "I've answered my country's call for service before, and I'm answering it now."

Libertarian Xavian Draper has also announced he intends to run.

Wittman has won elections by comfortable margins since he was first elected to Congress in 2007.

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