Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good Loses Main, However Plans To Demand Recount

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Virginia election officers on Tuesday declared Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), chairman of the ultra-conservative Home Freedom Caucus, the loser in his shut major in opposition to state Sen. John McGuire.

The willpower got here two weeks after Good’s major and makes him the primary casualty of GOP infighting this cycle.

McGuire’s 374-vote margin remains to be slim sufficient that Good can request a recount, however simply shy of the brink that will absolve Good’s marketing campaign from having to foot the invoice.

“We intend to call for recounts,” Good instructed HuffPost final week, earlier than the Virginia State Board of Elections had licensed McGuire because the winner. “It’s close enough to justify that and we just want to make sure that every legal and human vote is counted, and ultimately, the result reflects the intent of the qualified voters who participated.”

Good has tried to forged doubt on the result, drawing consideration to what he prompt have been suspicious fireplace alarms at three polling websites on election day and balloting points in his district’s largest metropolis, although fewer than 10 ballots have been affected.

The June 18 major, in south-central Virginia’s fifth District, was a unprecedented blow to Good, who himself unseated an incumbent solely 4 years in the past and shortly ascended in Congress to steer the Home’s most distinguished group of right-wing lawmakers.

It’s the primary time this cycle a critical major problem has managed to knock out an incumbent Republican. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a West Texas reasonable, narrowly emerged from a Could runoff after opposing a GOP border safety invoice. Final month, South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace simply dispatched a major problem that largely stemmed from her vote in opposition to former Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Good was opposed by two highly effective and typically opposing forces inside the GOP: Former President Donald Trump and allies of McCarthy.

Good alienated each Trump and McCarthy over the previous yr or so — first, when he endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump within the Republican presidential major final Could, after which when he and a number of other different GOP lawmakers dethroned McCarthy in October.

“The MAGA wing sees him as a RINO [Republican in name only] because he doesn’t do everything that Trump says, or at least he’s perceived as critical of Trump,” Alex Keena, a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth College. “And then the left flank of the Republican Party — if there really is a left flank — opposes him for betraying the party by undermining support for McCarthy during that time.”

“This is really a test of Trump’s ability to completely determine the Republican Party at this point.”

– Alex Keena, Virginia Commonwealth College

Good’s major demonstrated how just about any diploma of dissension in opposition to Trump might be challenged within the trendy Republican Social gathering. There was virtually no daylight between the 2 hard-right candidates on precise coverage points, and McGuire — a former Navy SEAL who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. — is nearly assured to win the bright-red seat in November.

“When we’re looking at these primary challenges, they’ve typically been about ideology, a centrist versus an extremist,” Keena stated. “But that’s really not the case at all here. This is really a test of Trump’s ability to completely determine the Republican Party at this point.”

Good has solely good issues to say about Trump and instantly backed him after DeSantis dropped out of the presidential major in late January. Trump nonetheless appeared to harbor a grudge over the snub. The ex-president endorsed McGuire final month, prompting a number of of Good’s colleagues, together with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), a fellow member of the Freedom Caucus, to comply with his lead.

“Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA!” Trump wrote on Fact Social final month. “He turned his back on our incredible Movement, and was constantly attacking and fighting me until recently, when he gave a warm and ‘loving’ Endorsement – But really, it was too late! The damage had been done.”

Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who has first elected to Congress in 2020, misplaced a GOP major to state Sen. John McGuire.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photos

McGuire made hugging Trump the central focus of his marketing campaign. Good tried to do the identical, placing out his personal pro-Trump indicators. Good has additionally criticized McGuire, who beforehand ran for Congress in one other district, as a serial candidate; McGuire entered the fifth District race in opposition to Good simply days after his election to the Virginia Senate.

McCarthy, who resigned from Congress on the finish of final yr, was not as straight concerned within the major as Trump; he has not personally endorsed McGuire. However McCarthy hasn’t hidden the truth that he’s working in opposition to the Republicans who toppled him as Home speaker.

Open Secrets and techniques reported that teams opposing Good and backing McGuire, together with the usually centrist Republican Principal Avenue Partnership, spent virtually $6 million. The teams backing Good, together with the Membership For Progress and the Home Freedom Fund, an arm of the Home Freedom Caucus, spent virtually $4.4 million, though a full accounting of the race gained’t be accessible till subsequent month. In the meantime, McGuire managed to barely outraise Good, $1.2 million to $1.1 million, per the newest Federal Election Fee filings.

Regardless of the deluge of out of doors cash, Trump overshadowed most all the things else concerning the major. “The race is really just about the power of Trump and his endorsement, and his stranglehold on the Republican Party,” Keena stated.

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

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