Bob Good fights for political life as GOP primary heads for likely recount

Rep. Bob Good (R) is still fighting for his political life the day after polls closed in Virginia.

The bitter race between Good, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, and his primary challenger, John McGuire — a state senator who won the coveted endorsement of former President Trump — remained too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon, with McGuire holding a razor-thin edge over Good.

McGuire is leading Good by just 307 votes — or 0.4 percent — with 95 percent of the vote in, according to results from The Hill/Decision Desk HQ. More than 62,000 voters cast ballots in the race to represent Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.

The contest is almost certainly headed to a recount: Virginia law allows candidates to request a recount if the margin is less than 1 percent.

Good expressed confidence Wednesday morning that he has a path to victory, but he warned that the final stretch of counting could take weeks.

“Provisional ballots and mail-in ballots are also still to be counted. We are asking for full transparency from the officials involved and patience from the people of the 5th District over the coming weeks as the certification of results is completed,” Good wrote on social platform X. “We believe we can still prevail.”

McGuire, meanwhile, encouraged by his late lead Tuesday night, went ahead and declared victory in a room full of supporters, taking a page from Trump’s 2020 election playbook.

“Ladies and gentleman, the votes are in and the people have spoken: It is an honor to be your Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District,” McGuire declared, prompting cheers.

He echoed that sentiment overnight Wednesday, writing on X: “There are still a few votes left to count, but it’s clear that all paths end with a victory.”

Counting could be at least delayed until Thursday. Virginia observes the federal Juneteenth holiday, so ballots are not expected to be tallied Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

Good, however, is optimistic that he will take the edge as more votes are counted.

A handful of counties in the Old Dominion had a fair portion of outstanding ballots as of Wednesday morning, with both Good and McGuire leading in some of the areas.

A source close to the Good campaign told The Hill that they are closely watching returns in Albemarle County and Lynchburg, both of which the incumbent has a leg up in.

In Albemarle, Good has a 523 vote — or 9.4 point — edge over McGuire with much of the county reporting. Over in Lynchburg, Good is hanging on to an 842 vote — or 16.4 percent — lead over McGuire.

“This race remains too close to call,” Good wrote on X Wednesday. “We are in a period where the law provides a process for evaluating the accuracy of all the vote totals from election day to ensure everyone can have full confidence in the certified results.”

The battle in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District — Tuesday’s marquee race — has drawn national headlines for months, both for its intense interest inside the Beltway and heavy spending.

Trump and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both endorsed McGuire after Good crossed them — Good initially backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential primary, and he voted to oust McCarthy from the top job — earning the incumbent the ire of two GOP heavyweights, their supporters, and their war chests.

Trump declared in a Truth Social post on the eve of the primary election that “Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA,” and he participated in a tele-rally for McGuire, where he warned that if Good is elected the incumbent he “will stab Virginia in the back, sort of like he did with me.”

McCarthy’s Majority Committee PAC, meanwhile, funneled $10,000 to McGuire’s campaign, looking to knock off the first of eight Republicans who voted to remove him from the Speakership. He faced his first defeat last week after Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who voted to remove McCarthy, reigned supreme in her primary.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), another GOP firebrand, joined Trump and McCarthy in backing McGuire, while other Freedom Caucus members on Capitol Hill backed their chair, including Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

Good nodded to that opposition against him in an election night post on X, writing: “No matter the outcome, you’ve shown the DC Swamp that you won’t back down from standing for what’s right.”

“Keep the faith and don’t stop fighting now,” he added.

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