Main Menu

GOP primary between Good, McGuire in Va.’s 5th too close to call, AP says

Spread the love


RICHMOND — The Republican primary race between House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good and state Sen. John J. McGuire III in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District is officially too close to call, the Associated Press declared Monday, nearly a week after voters went to the polls.

Local elections officials in the deep-red central Virginia district were wrapping up their canvass of the results of the June 18 primary, finding that McGuire and Good were neck and neck, with McGuire leading by just 373 votes. The results now head to the state for certification, a step needed before an expected recount can proceed.

The contest between the two ultraconservatives was a heated one, with former president Donald Trump and establishment forces who had sought to oust the hard-right incumbent backing McGuire. While McGuire claimed victory about four hours after polls closed on June 18, Good did not concede that night and soon began raising concerns about the integrity of the election.

The race had already been expected to go to a recount, which state law allows the apparent loser to request if the margin of victory is not greater than 1 percent of total votes cast. The state picks up the tab if the margin is not greater than 0.5 percent. McGuire’s unofficial 373-vote lead is out of 62,741 votes cast, putting the margin at 0.59 percent. The recount process would not begin until state officials certify the results.

McGuire again claimed victory in a written statement issued shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday. “I’m so honored that you’ve chosen me as your next Congressman,” he wrote. “The final tally of votes are in, and the outcome of the 5th District election has been confirmed. I am looking forward to November and becoming part of the America First victory not only in Virginia but across the country.” Trump took to Truth Social on Monday night, also declaring McGuire the winner.

Good did not immediately issue a statement. Last week on X, he said he found it suspicious that polling places in three jurisdictions had fire alarms go off on Election Day. On Monday, he told former Trump White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon that a drop box at the Lynchburg registrar’s office had been “left to be stuffed for two or three days after the election.”

“We’ve got data concerns that we can demonstrate where the trends and the data just don’t make any sense,” he said on Bannon’s “War Room” program, on which Good also sought donations for the recount effort. “I’m not going to get into particulars on those because we don’t want to tip our hand to the opposition.”

Officials with the Lynchburg registrar’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Over two terms in Congress, Good has gained a national reputation as an unyielding conservative, one of eight Republicans who teamed up with Democrats to oust Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the House speakership. Good’s obstructionist tactics as head of the far-right Freedom Caucus have frustrated more-pragmatic Republicans in Congress but have generally played well in his rural district, where gumming up the works in Washington is something of a badge of honor.

But Good drew the ire of Trump — and a primary challenge from McGuire — by endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in May 2023, backing Trump only after DeSantis dropped out in January. Good’s rationale: DeSantis was more conservative than Trump on issues such as abortion and guns. Good also said the “baggage” of Trump’s various indictments — including the New York hush money trial in which he was later convicted — could cost him the race.

Trump called Good a backstabber, endorsed McGuire, made a TV ad for the challenger and called in to his tele-rally the night before the election. At the same time, Good faced well-funded attacks from McCarthy and mainstream Republican groups.

Good contended the establishment cash gushing McGuire’s way proved that his challenger was a RINO (Republican in name only), while McGuire claimed that Good was a closet moderate because he had teamed up with Democrats to oust McCarthy.

In truth, both are hard-right figures who have generally stood with Trump, including backing his false claims that Democrats stole the White House in 2020. Good voted against certifying the 2020 election and rallied outside the Justice Department on behalf of Capitol riot defendants.

McGuire, who flies Trump flags off the back of his Ford pickup, attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally in D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, (without, he says, storming the Capitol) and has promoted a local showing of “2000 Mules,” a discredited film that purports to show voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“There was no principle that McGuire was espousing other than [avenging] the personal affront to Trump,” veteran Richmond political analyst Bob Holsworth said.

The race made for odd political alliances, with Trump, McCarthy and assorted establishment forces equally bent on booting Good. Further scrambling the picture: While some prominent Trump allies such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) campaigned in the district for McGuire, others broke with the former president to support Good. Bannon and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), for instance, separately traveled to the district to headline rallies for the incumbent.

A host of “bizarre crosscurrents” made the race “really challenging to predict,” according to Zack Roday, a Republican strategist who lives in the district but was not involved with either campaign.

“Donald Trump endorsing is still a huge deal. That’s a hard vertical to overcome,” he said. “But he’s also endorsing against an incumbent that’s not a RINO, that doesn’t have an egregious vote.”

A solid ground game seemed to help Good stay competitive despite having opposing wings of the GOP united in their desire to unseat him, Roday said.

“Clearly, Bob Good had a good organization, he’s very well liked by the grass roots, and he’s got die-hard volunteers and supporters who appreciate his stands in Congress. They would appreciate that he’s against the [former] speaker and holding a hard line,” he said. “That allows for intensity.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2022-2024
Back to Top