Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: May 28, 1960, Titusville, FL

Home: Virginia Beach

Education: Mercer U., B.B.A. 1983; Regent U., M.B.A. 1990.

Professional Career: Salesman, Ford dealership, 1983-86; pres., Freedom Automotive, 1991-2010.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Christian

Family: Married (Teri) , 4 children

Republican Scott Rigell is a car dealer who won the seat in 2010 by knocking off Democratic freshman Glenn Nye. He has shown a repeated willingness to take centrist stands that inflame the conservatives in his party.

Rigell (RIDGE-ull) hails from Titusville, Fla., near the Kennedy Space Center, where his father worked as an engineer and director of NASA’s launch-vehicle operations. His mother drove a school bus. Rigell earned his undergraduate degree from Mercer University in Georgia and shortly afterward returned to Titusville to work at a Ford dealership run by his father-in-law. He later enrolled in business school at Regent University, a private Christian college founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. After getting a master’s degree in business administration, Rigell purchased Freedom Automotive in 1991 and became rich; the Center for Responsive Politics estimated his average 2011 net worth at nearly $30 million. Soon afterward, he met Bob McDonnell, now the Republican governor of Virginia, on the showroom floor of his auto dealership, and the two became friends. Over the years, Rigell helped McDonnell in his campaigns and contributed to other Republican candidates. He also gave $1,000 to Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, which conservatives cited as proof that he is too moderate for the district.

When he decided to challenge Nye, Rigell had to compete against five other candidates in the GOP primary. He ran as the establishment candidate, with the most cash, in a field that included Iraq war veteran Bert Mizusawa and engineering contractor Ben Loyola, the local tea party favorite. Though McDonnell remained neutral in the race, his politically active daughter, Jeanine, ran an ad for Rigell calling him a “longtime friend” of the family. Rigell won with 40% of the vote.

In the general election, Rigell pledged to adhere to a 12-year term limit and to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, even the wealthiest taxpayers. Nye said he, too, favored extending the tax cuts for everyone, and he won the endorsement of the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which called him a “pro-business” Democrat. Rigell raised more money and rode the 2010 Republican wave to victory with 53% of the vote to 42% for Nye.

In Washington, Rigell has been a centrist, particularly on economic issues. He got a bill into law in January 2013 setting chemical standards for domestic and imported drywall. His first official act was to unveil a 10-point proposal for scaling back congressional perks that he said have fostered “a culture of privilege.” His plan included cutting congressional office budgets to 2008 levels, limiting franked mail to two pieces a year, replacing lawmakers’ pensions with 401(k) plans, banning travel paid for by lobbyists for foundations, and prohibiting lawmakers and their staffs from working as lobbyists for five years after leaving their government employment. In the highly likely event that Congress declined to adopt his ideas, Rigell said he would abide by them voluntarily. He was one of two House Republicans in 2012 to vote against a criminal contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-tracing operation.

Rigell also won a seat on the Budget Committee, where he became an outspoken critic of lobbyist Grover Norquist’s no-new-taxes pledge during the 2012 tax and spending negotiations aimed at avoiding a so-called “fiscal cliff.” But the issue that won him the most attention was gun control. A National Rifle Association member, he nonetheless joined with Democrats in early 2013 to sponsor a bill creating a federal gun-trafficking law imposing a prison sentence of up to 20 years for convicted straw gun buyers. He said it was a “common ground” issue on which both parties should agree. But Karen Miner Hurd, chairman emeritus of the Virginia Tea Party Alliance PAC, accused him in The Washington Post of “caving to the politically correct left.” The National Association for Gun Rights aired radio ads and sent direct-mail fliers falsely accusing Rigell of backing a federal registry system and working with President Barack Obama to seize guns. He asked Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, a supporter of the group, to denounce its attacks, but Paul declined.

Democrats initially hoped to reclaim Rigell’s seat in 2012. Democrat Paul Hirschbiel, a venture capitalist, spent more than $400,000 on his campaign. But he couldn’t make a dent in Rigell’s poll numbers, and by October, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled its air time in the Hampton Roads market. Rigell won, 54%-46%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4215

(202) 225-4218

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 418
Washington, DC 20515-4602

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4215

(202) 225-4218

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 418
Washington, DC 20515-4602

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 687-8290

(757) 687-8298

4772 Euclid Road Suite E
Virginia Beach, VA 23462-3800

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 687-8290

(757) 687-8298

4772 Euclid Road Suite E
Virginia Beach, VA 23462-3800

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 442-4790

(757) 442-4793

36312 Lankford Highway Suite 5
Belle Haven, VA 23306

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 442-4790

(757) 442-4793

36312 Lankford Highway Suite 5
Belle Haven, VA 23306

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 687-8290

(757) 687-8298

1100 Exploration Way Suite 302 R
Hampton, VA 23666

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 687-8290

(757) 687-8298

1100 Exploration Way Suite 302 R
Hampton, VA 23666

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

915 First Colonial Road Suite 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23454-3186

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Commerce

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Disaster

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Education

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Energy

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Environment

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Family

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Health

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Medicare

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Military

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Privacy

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Rules

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Science

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

John Thomas
Legislative Director

Welfare

Scott Bierman
Legislative Assistant

Ben Kochman
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Scott Rigell
Votes: 166,231
Percent: 53.83%
Paul Hirschbiel
Votes: 142,548
Percent: 46.17%
2012 PRIMARY
Scott Rigell
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Scott Rigell
Votes: 88,340
Percent: 53.12%
Glenn Nye
Votes: 70,591
Percent: 42.45%
2010 PRIMARY
Scott Rigell
Votes: 14,396
Percent: 39.5%
Ben Loyola
Votes: 9,762
Percent: 26.79%
Bert Mizusawa
Votes: 6,342
Percent: 17.4%
Scott Taylor
Votes: 2,950
Percent: 8.1%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (53%)

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