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Good, McGuire make final appeal to 5th District voters

Rep. Good speaks into a microphone
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., gives remarks on Monday, June 3, 2024 at Redeeming Grace Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The winner will face one of three Democrats vying for their party’s nomination.

Incumbent Rep. Bob Good and state Sen. John McGuire (R-Goochland) are competing for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, where loyalty to former President Donald Trump has become a marquee issue.

Both candidates are considered among the most conservative in Virginia politics, and they differ little in terms of policy issues, experts said. The difference is that Trump endorsed McGuire.

“They're both fairly right-wing candidates,” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia. “It's just that McGuire has the support of President Donald Trump. He has the support of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who Bob Good basically played a key role in ending his speakership last year.”

Good chairs the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans who played a key role in the vote to remove McCarthy, who later resigned from Congress. Political donations have targeted Good and other members who voted against McCarthy.

Since 2021, Good has represented the district, which stretches from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Richmond’s western suburbs and down to the North Carolina border.

McGuire has been a General Assembly legislator since 2018 — first representing Louisa County and areas northwest of Richmond in the House of Delegates — before joining the Senate in January. He is a former Navy SEAL and often votes alone in the Senate, as he did on a budget compromise in May and a bill that raised the marriage age to 18.

A bird's-eye view of a farmhouse with the following words on it “Hang on Trump is coming”
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
A house is seen just off Richmond Highway on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Appomattox County, Virginia. Rep. Good is running against State Sen. John McGuire, R-Goochland, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

McGuire joined the 5th District race after statements to the contrary during his Senate campaign. The candidate said his bid was the result of voters being upset with Good’s decision to endorse Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination — not Trump.

“John is running against Bob Good, who is actually bad for Virginia, and will stab you in the back like he did me,” said Trump in an ad supporting McGuire. 

McGuire told VPM News Trump is the only person who “can save our country.”

“He's earned the right to call the shots,” McGuire said of Trump. “If he can change his mind on Trump, then we the people can change their mind on Bob Good.”

Johnson, who is wearing a “NEVER SURRENDER 2024, shirt with a picture of Former President Donald Trump, removes yard signs after a rally
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
Wendell Johnson, retired, removes yard signs following a Rep. Bob Good rally on Monday, June 3, 2024 at Redeeming Grace Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rep. Good is running against State Sen. John McGuire, R-Goochland, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

At a Lynchburg church earlier this month, Good defended his roles in House votes against spending bills funding the federal government and to remove McCarthy.

“I didn't go to Washington to make friends, I went to Washington to save the country,” Good told a group of mostly older adult voters.

Much of his stump speech focused on not voting for spending increases because of high federal spending and the country’s current immigration policy.

Suzanne Peniche said she saw Good as an independent — a principled legislator.

“I think that we need people in Washington that have guts,” said Peniche. She said she signed up to volunteer for Good after the event, and had not been involved in politics before but was concerned about fentanyl after her son died.

At a car show near Bumpass, on the shore of Lake Anna Saturday, McGuire pitched voters on supporting him while carrying a sign that said “Trump Endorsed.”

Dominic Carroll told McGuire he was frustrated with constituent services at Good’s office.

“This guy's really genuine in what he does,” Carroll said about McGuire. “He wouldn't be out here in this hot sun. Where’s Bob Good at?”

“It's really kind of bizarre,” said Derrick Max, president of the conservative think tank The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. “It's really all about who could show their allegiance to Trump the best. And really, in Congress, you have very few people that were more aligned with Trump than Good.”

Whoever wins is likely to represent this district, which the Virginia Public Access Project says leans red. (Three Democrats — Paul Riley, Gary Terry and Gloria Witt — are also competing in Tuesday’s primary. The winner of that primary will face either Good or McGuire in November.)

McGuire — who attended protests near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and screened a debunked conspiracy film focused on the 2020 presidential election — said he still has concerns about election security, even in Virginia’s 5th District.

“Certainly, there are questions to be raised,” said McGuire. “But my thing is, I'm gonna do what Trump's gonna do in November: Have overwhelming force where there's no question.”

A done view of the Sterling Park Apartments
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News
The Sterling Park Apartments are seen on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rep. Good is running against State Sen. John McGuire, R-Goochland, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Jahd Khalil covers Virginia state politics for VPM News.
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