CHARLOTTESVILLE — Josh Throneburg, an ordained minister and small-business owner, is entering the race for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District’s Democratic nomination.
A resident of Charlottesville, Throneburg, 44, said he was inspired to run to create a better future for his two young daughters, Lucy and Agnes.
“My oldest daughter is Black and my youngest daughter is biracial, which puts acts of racism as a threat to their future,” he said. “Our planet is in crisis, our democracy is under attack, and we don’t really know how those things are going to turn out. So I feel like we need leaders that will kind of see the big picture, make good decisions to better the life of our children, not threaten them.”
Though he was not raised as a Democrat, Throneburg said he chose the party as an adult due to his Christian faith and how he believes the party aligns with those values.
“The Bible talks over and over and over again about paying attention to people who are on the margins, providing for people who are in need and caring for people who are oppressed,” he said. “While I have deep respect and love for the friends and family that I grew up with, most of whom are Republicans, when I surveyed the platform of both parties, I felt like the Democratic platform was better aligned with my faith.”
Throneburg, who owns Nooks & Crannies Cleaning, said his faith is informing his campaign platform, including issues of racial justice and climate change.
“My campaign is going to focus on racial justice, because justice is a huge part of what the Bible teaches and that is not a part of our lived reality right now in this country,” he said. “I’m going to talk a lot about reinvesting in rural communities, because in a lot of ways, those rural communities are places that kind of have made their way to the margins.”
The 5th District — which stretches from Rappahannock County to the city of Danville and includes much of the Charlottesville area — is largely rural, and Throneburg said he hopes to appeal to voters in those areas, as well as to voters of color, activists and faith-minded people by addressing commonalities.
Though he has not run for public office before, Throneburg said he believes his life experience has equipped him with the necessary skills to lead the district.
“I pastored for many, many years and walked with people through the highs and lows of life and through some of the most challenging experiences that they go through,” he said. “I’m a small-business owner and I feel the stress and uncertainty that comes with trying to make a living for your family and provide for them.”
Throneburg is the third Democrat to announce his intentions to run for the nomination, following Dr. Shadi Ayyas, who said in December that he would again seek the nomination after stepping down from the 2020 primary to focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; and former prosecutor Lewis Combs. The 5th Congressional District Democrats have not yet selected the nomination method for 2022.
The district currently is represented by Rep. Bob Good, who won the election after defeating incumbent Denver Riggleman in a GOP nominating convention. Good’s Christian faith was also a significant part of his campaign and led him to condemn Riggleman for officiating a same-sex marriage.
Last month, frequent candidate Kimberly Lowe announced that she would challenge Good for the GOP nomination in 2022.
Tyler Hammel is a reporter for The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress.