Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good Loses to Trump-Backed Challenger John McGuire

Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good Loses to Trump-Backed Challenger John McGuire
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) (C) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill following a vote on April 19, 2024, in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), chair of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, lost his primary to Trump-backed Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, the Virginia Department of Elections announced on July 2 two weeks after the closely-watched primary election.

Mr. McGuire pulled off the upset by 374 votes in the June 18 GOP primary in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.

Mr. Good is the first Republican House incumbent, and second House member overall, to go down to a non-incumbent primary challenger this year.

A recount is likely, however. A candidate may request a recount if the difference between candidates is 1 percent or less, according to Virginia law. Mr. Good has said he will ask for one.

“We’re going to have a full recount. We’re going to have a full investigation,” he said on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast on June 20, noting he has a legal team ready to act as observers.

Mr. McGuire, a former Navy SEAL, declared victory at his watch party in Lynchburg, Virginia, shortly before midnight on June 18 despite the election being too close to call.

The contentious primary battle had been largely defined by loyalty to former President Donald Trump. Mr. Good had initially endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the presidential race, before flipping to the former president after the governor dropped out.

Former President Trump and Mr. McGuire have cast Mr. Good as disloyal to the presumptive Republican nominee. In a previous Truth Social post, the former president said that despite the House Freedom Caucus chair’s subsequent endorsement, “the damage had been done.”

When asked on June 7 if he regretted endorsing Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Good told The Epoch Times, “The time for talking about previous endorsements is over” and the time had come to unite behind the former president.

In interviews with The Epoch Times outside primary polling places on June 18, voters, who declined to provide their last names, explained why they voted for either Mr. McGuire or Mr. Good.

Jimmy, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat and a shirt with former President Trump’s face, said he supported Mr. McGuire simply because “Trump endorsed him” even though Mr. Good “did an alright job.”

James said he pulled the lever for Mr. McGuire even though he did not like either candidate but in the end had to pick one. He said there needs to be a change in the U.S. government. He also cited former President Trump’s endorsement of Mr. McGuire.

David voted for Mr. Good simply “because he’s a conservative.”

While Mr. Good, who has been in Congress since January 2021, got endorsements from a dozen or so members of the House Freedom Caucus, Mr. McGuire boasted backing from some prominent Republicans, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

One Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), supported Mr. McGuire, calling him “conservative and effective.”

Mr. Good was one of eight Republicans to join with all the Democrats in ousting former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House Speaker last October.

A super PAC affiliated with Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that supports moderate Republicans, spent more than $450,000 to defeat the GOP incumbent, according to Open Secrets.

The seat seems likely to stay in GOP hands as Mr. Good won reelection in 2022 with 57.6 percent of the vote.

Terri Wu and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times