Progressive champion Tom Perriello is fundraising on behalf of John Douglass, the presumptive Democratic nominee in Virginia's 5th Congressional District whose role as a Civil War reenactor and founder of a local Confederate battery sparked considerable controversy earlier this year.
"The people of the 5th District deserve a leader with deep conviction, proven service to country and community, and the gravitas to challenge business as usual in Washington. John is that candidate," wrote Perriello in a fundraising email sent Monday. "I am proud to support his campaign."
After a strong showing in a series of non-binding Democratic caucuses in late April, Douglass, a former officer in the U.S. Navy and longtime defense lobbyist, appeared to have secured the Democratic nomination. That was solidified when his primary competitor, Peyton Williams, suspended his campaign late last month.
Douglass will challenge Republican Rep. Robert Hurt for the seat.
Virginia's 5th District is a tough seat for Democrats to win. Given unfavorable redistricting, it's even harder to win now than it was in 2008, when Perriello eked out a narrow victory. Hurt defeated Perriello in 2010. Larger than the state of New Jersey, the district stretches from the liberal oasis of Charlottesville in central Virginia through miles of deeply conservative, predominantly white farmland.
A party convention on May 19 will formally determine the Democratic congressional nominee.
HuffPost compiled a slideshow of Douglass' Civil War reenactments:
Read the full fundraising statement from Perriello below.
Today, I am proud to announce my support for Brig. General John Douglass (ret.) in his race to reclaim our beloved fifth district!
The people of the fifth district deserve a leader with deep conviction, proven service to country and community, and the gravitas to challenge business as usual in Washington. John is that candidate.
I am proud to support his campaign, but he cannot succeed without your help. The next 48 hours are critical. Citizens across the district are starting to see how serious this race will be. The political pros have gotten the message about how committed John is to victory, but now they are asking the next question -- do his supporters share that commitment? John needs 100 new donors in the 48 hours after this announcement to keep his momentum going and show the district and the skeptics that we will not fail. Will you help?
Click here and help keep John’s campaign strong with your most generous contribution today.
We need a representative in Congress who understands that the economy and the political game have been rigged against working people, and we deserve a Representative with the guts to stand up to powerful interests in Washington to reclaim our democracy for the people. We are fortunate to have a military hero, a successful businessman, a farmer, and a man who knows our history stepping forward to serve us in Congress.
We have an opportunity to send General John Douglass to march on Congress and reclaim our democracy for the American people. But, we need your help so he can have the resources it takes to go toe-to-toe.
Please contribute to John today to help us meet our goal of 100 new donors in the next 48 hours.
He has already proven that service comes first by wearing the uniform for more than three decades. He has proven the ability to rise above partisan divides by serving both Presidents Reagan and Clinton.
Heck, he has even been able to work with both the Air Force and the Navy. He was been an executive with some of the largest employers in Virginia, and has also worked hard for at-risk and special needs kids in our school system. He doesn’t just have a message. He has a mission. But he cannot complete this one without your help.