Five faces to watch Tuesday in Georgia, Oklahoma and Virginia

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Republican House members are playing defense in expensive primaries in Virginia and Oklahoma, with Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good of Virginia facing a conservative rival endorsed by former President Donald Trump, while House Appropriations Chair Tom Cole has a challenger in Oklahoma who’s put more than $5 million of his own money into the race.

There are also primaries in Virginia for open seats now held by Democrats that the GOP is trying to flip, and a runoff in Georgia for a Solid Republican open seat.

Here’s a rundown of five races worth watching.

Good opponent McGuire backed by Trump

Good could be the first incumbent of the year to lose to a primary challenger when 5th District voters pick their Republican nominee Tuesday. 

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Good, who was one of the eight House Republicans who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, faces a primary challenge from state Sen. John McGuire, who is backed by Trump. Trump has said that Good is “bad for Virginia.”

Good was among the members of Congress who endorsed Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, but he later endorsed Trump after DeSantis ended his presidential campaign. 

McGuire was elected to the state Senate in 2023. He narrowly outraised Good, $1.2 million to $1.1 million as of May 29, but had $520,000 on hand for the final weeks of the campaign compared to Good’s $168,000. 

Outside groups have spent a whopping $20 million in the 5th District ahead of Tuesday’s primary. House Freedom Action, the political arm of the Freedom Caucus, spent $241,000 supporting Good and $1.3 million opposing McGuire. Defending Main Street Super PAC, which is aligned with the Republican Main Street Partnership, spent $904,000 supporting McGuire. Several other groups also made independent expenditures. 

A handful of House Republicans have also traveled to the central Virginia district, which includes Charlottesville and stretches to the North Carolina border, to campaign for both Good and McGuire.

Cole challenger spending big

In Oklahoma’s ruby red 4th District, Cole is facing an aggressive challenge from a deep-pocketed Republican newcomer.

Businessman Paul Bondar has loaned his campaign more than $5 million, which has funded a flood of negative ads. He says he’s the real “Trump Republican” in the race, even though former President Donald Trump is backing Cole.

Bondar, who owned an Illinois-based trucking insurance company, is facing questions about his residency. He owns a home outside Dallas, holds a Texas driver’s license and voted in the Texas primary on March 5, according to a report on KFOR

Bondar told the Oklahoma City television station that he’s building a ranch in Durant, Okla., which is outside the boundaries of the 4th District, and registered to vote in Oklahoma on April 3, according to Oklahoma Voice. While the Constitution doesn’t require candidates to live within the district they are seeking to represent, it does stipulate that they must live in the state.

The race has also drawn the attention of outside groups who are backing Cole. Americans 4 Security PAC spent $6.2 million and Defending Main Street SuperPAC Inc. spent $691,000 against Bodnar. On top of that, those two groups and five others, including the National Association of Realtors and the National Rifle Association, spent another $382,000 supporting Cole.

Three other Republicans – Nick Hankins, Rick Harris and Andrew Hayes – are also on the primary ballot, and to win the nomination outright a candidate has to get over 50 percent or there will be a runoff on Aug. 27. Two Democrats – Mary Brannon and Kody Macaulay – are competing in the Democratic primary.

Trump won the 4th District by more than 30 percentage points in 2020.

Crowd vies for Spanberger seat

Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s decision not to run for reelection and focus on a 2025 run for governor opens up the 7th District, a swing seat that’s attracted seven Democrats and six Republicans. 

Eugene Vindman, a former National Security Council official who rose to prominence alongside his twin brother for his role in the first Trump impeachment inquiry, has put a national spotlight on the race. He raised $5 million and had $876,000 on hand as of May 29.

Six other candidates are on the Democratic ballot on Tuesday, including a quartet of female state and local officials: Prince William County Supervisors Andrea Bailey and Margaret Franklin, former state Del. Elizabeth Guzman and state Del. Briana Sewell. But none of those candidates have narrowed the campaign to make it a true two-person race. 

On the Republican side, two military veterans, retired Green Beret Derrick Anderson and retired Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton, are leading a field of six candidates. 

Anderson, who lost a 2022 primary for the 7th District, has led the GOP in fundraising and had $422,000 on hand for the final weeks of the campaign. He’s endorsed by Speaker Mike Johnson and other members of the House GOP leadership. Virginia Rep. Jen Kiggans also backed him, along with several other House Republicans.

Hamilton is further to the right to Anderson. He was endorsed by several members of the Freedom Caucus, including Good. Hamilton raised $722,000 and had $178,000 on hand for the campaign’s final stretch.

Groups spent $8.4 million on independent expenditures to support candidates in the 7th District, as of Thursday afternoon. Protect Progress and VoteVets spent a combined $2.6 million to boost Vindman and Casa in Action PAC spent $378,000 to support Guzman. The Protect Freedom Fund Political Action Committee and House Freedom Fund spent $2.5 million to support Hamilton in the Republican primary. 

The seat is on both parties’ radar for November. Inside Elections rates the race as Tilt Democratic. 

A dozen Democrats seeking NoVa nod

The race to succeed Rep. Jennifer Wexton has drawn a dozen Democrats and four Republicans seeking to represent Northern Virginia’s 10th District.

Of the 12 Democrats in the race, state Del. Dan Helmer, state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam and former defense official Krystle Kaul all raised more than $1 million as of May 29, and former House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn raised $972,000. Kaul’s total includes $556,000 she loaned or donated to her campaign.

The race has stayed competitive and new developments this week led to one candidate calling on another to withdraw. NOTUS reported that four members of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee accused Helmer “of behavior that led to the local party instituting a sexual harassment policy.” The officials, two of whom reportedly endorsed different candidates, didn’t detail specific allegations against him. 

Filler-Corn called on Helmer to drop out of the race on Thursday, saying his behavior was “disqualifying.”

Subramanyam was endorsed by Wexton, who is retiring after being diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, which she has referred to as “a kind of ‘Parkinson’s on steroids.’”

Helmer led the Democrats in fundraising. He had $536,000 on hand as of May 29, while Subramanyam had $286,000 and Filler-Corn had $219,000. Kaul had $43,000. 

Outside spending in the race reached $11 million as of Thursday. Protect Progress, a PAC with ties to the cryptocurrency industry, VoteVets and With Honor Fund II Inc., spent a combined $9.6 million to support Helmer. A group called The Impact Fund spent $1 million to support Subramanyam. The pro-Israel DMFI PAC spent $300,000 and a group called Virginians United for Progress spent $24,000 to support Filler-Corn, while Virginia Democratic Action PAC and WFP National PAC spent $375,000 opposing her. Repro Rising Virginia PAC spent $25,000 supporting state Sen. Jennifer Boysko.

In the Republican primary, attorney Mike Clancy led three opponents in fundraising. He had $111,000 on hand as of May 29. Veteran Alex Isaac had $23,000 on hand, while Marine veteran Aliscia Andrews had $27,000. Manga Anantatmula had $2,800. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race as Likely Democratic.

Former Trump aide in Georgia runoff

Brian Jack, who served as White House political director under Trump and has his endorsement, finished first in a five-candidate field in the May 21 primary for the open seat in Georgia’s 3rd District.

Jack got nearly 47 percent but needed more than 50 percent to win the nomination outright. So he faces a runoff Tuesday against state Sen. Mike Dugan, who got about 25 percent in the primary.

Jack has the fundraising advantage, raising $1.3 million for the election cycle and holding $360,000 in his campaign account on May 29, compared to $605,000 raised and $173,000 on hand for Dugan. In addition, all but $25,000 of the $835,000 spent by outside groups since the primary went to boost Jack.

The largely rural district in western Georgia is represented by Republican Drew Ferguson, who won his fourth term in 2022 with 69 percent of the vote but said in December he would not run again.

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