Bob Good ousted by Trump-backed rival in Virginia nail-biter

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R) has narrowly lost his primary in Virginia to Trump-backed challenger John McGuire, delivering the former president a victory in one of the cycle’s most tumultuous nominating contests, according to Decision Desk HQ.

McGuire, a state senator, defeated Good, a two-term House Republican, in the GOP primary for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, after the race dragged on for days due to the slim margin separating the two candidates.

Following the race call, Good said he would push for a recount.

“In a race with nearly 63,000 votes that is separated by a 0.6% margin, Republican voters across the 5th District deserve to know that all legal votes have been accurately counted,” he announced. “We will vigorously pursue that objective over the coming days and weeks, as permitted by Virginia law.”

Under Virginia law, recounts can be triggered when the candidate who lost was defeated by a margin of up to 1 percent. The state covers expenses of the recount if the margin is up to half a percentage point, otherwise the contesting candidate foots the bill for the recount.

The difference between the two candidates was 0.6 percent, meaning Good will have to foot the expenses for the recount in whichever jurisdictions he requests it from specifically.

Good made a name for himself as a rabble-rouser within the House GOP caucus, bucking his own party at pivotal moments. Among the moves that rankled some in his party were his vote to oust former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his Speakership; voting against the debt ceiling deal reached between President Biden and McCarthy last year; and voting down a foreign aid package that included aid to Ukraine and Israel.

But the biggest tipping point came during the GOP presidential primary, when Good endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump in the race, drawing the former president’s ire. Good ultimately backed Trump once DeSantis dropped out.

Trump endorsed McGuire in late May, writing in a post on his Truth Social platform at the time, “Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA. 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.”

Good also saw outside groups like the Republican Main Street Partnership and Republican Jewish Coalition coalesce behind McGuire. Even one of his fellow Freedom Caucus members — Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) — endorsed Good’s challenger.

Still, Good sought to align himself with the former president, so much so that the Trump campaign sent Good a cease-and-desist letter after finding yard signs that made it look like the congressman had received Trump’s endorsement.

Amid the turmoil, Good took steps to endorse primary challengers to a handful of Republicans such as Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who survived their primaries. Bacon in turn threw his support behind Good’s challenger.

In an interview with The Hill in May, Good argued the incumbent-on-incumbent primary contests only began when some within his party attended a fundraiser for McGuire.

And Good’s relatively strong showing, despite his loss, underscores the tensions simmering within the House Republican Conference.

Some Republican groups hailed McGuire’s win over Good.

“Let there be no doubt that the Republican Jewish Coalition means it when we say: If you stand against the Jewish community, if you stand against America’s strategic ally Israel, the RJC will work to defeat you,”  Republican Jewish Coalition National Chairman Senator Norm Coleman and CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement following McGuire’s win.

“We are proud and gratified to have played a significant role in helping to defeat extremist Bob Good, and we look forward to working with John McGuire in the next Congress,” they added.

Sarah Chamberlain, president and CEO of Republican Main Street Partnership – another group that waded into the primary against Good – cheered the results in a statement, saying she was “thrilled.”

“Voters are exhausted by the Congressional circus and its perennial clowns like Bob Good who repeatedly prove their unseriousness and untrustworthiness. That is why they sent Good into early retirement,” she said.

Updated: 8:50 p.m. ET

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