Good locked in tight race with Trump-backed rival

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House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R) is locked in a surprisingly tight battle to hold onto his Virginia seat against primary challenger John McGuire, who has the endorsement of former President Trump.

Trump and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were both aligned with McGuire, and many expected Good to be easily defeated. But the race has turned out far closer than expected, with the two candidates separated by a fraction of a point in their fight for the 5th Congressional District seat.  

With more than 90 percent of votes reported at the time of publication, Good was trailing McGuire by roughly 500 votes, according to Decision Desk HQ. 

Good drew Trump’s fury when he backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the Republican presidential primary, and though the conservative lawmaker quickly moved to endorse Trump after DeSantis exited, the former president has argued the support came too late.       

Good also got on McCarthy’s bad side when he joined seven other Republicans and all Democrats in the historic vote to remove the California lawmaker from his House leadership role last year.  McCarthy’s Majority Committee PAC has contributed to McGuire.

The closely-watched race could end House incumbents’ winning streak so far this cycle, with the exception of a rare incumbent-on-incumbent race in Alabama, which was prompted by redistricting.  

Over in Oklahoma, incumbent Rep. Tom Cole (R) fought off several primary challengers on Tuesday night to win the GOP nomination for his House seat in the Sooner State’s 4th Congressional District.

Should McGuire ultimately prevail, the race would be the first big win for McCarthy as he targets the Republicans who voted to oust him. His revenge tour got off to a rough start last week when South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace (R) easily won her primary against a challenger supported by McCarthy’s PAC.  

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), a member of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus that Good chairs, backed McGuire earlier this week, underscoring tensions in the party around the deep-red, central Virginia seat.

But Good has the support of other Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). 

“Right now, we’re still waiting on the final election results of today’s Primary,” Good said in a post on X around 11 p.m. Eastern, thanking his supporters.

He noted that the district is still waiting on mail-in and provisional ballots, and said his team is working to “ensure all the votes are properly counted in the coming days.”

There are no automatic recounts in Virginia, though defeated candidates can request one when there’s a difference of no more than one percentage point.  

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