MAGA-backed Republican declares himself winner over Trump backstabber

Gun Rights

With just 400 votes separating them, a Trump-backed challenger declared victory late Tuesday over incumbent Republican Bob Good in Virginia’s contentious 5th District primary, a race marked by Trump’s fierce denunciations and accusations of backstabbing against Good.

The race gained national attention in recent days when Good, the chair of the incendiary House Freedom Caucus, found himself in the crosshairs of a formidable enemy: former President Donald Trump. Trump openly attacked Good after he endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ill-fated rival 2024 presidential campaign.

“John is running against Bob Good, who is actually bad for Virginia, and who will stab you in the back like he did me,” Trump said in the video ahead of the primary.”

Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) also jumped into the race, urging other members of the Freedom Caucus to oppose Good as well. According to Greene, Good was likely to stab them in the back “just like he did with President Trump.”

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As of midnight Tuesday, McGuire, a state lawmaker and accused Jan. 6 attendee, held a lead by the slimmest of margins. With about 94 percent of the votes tallied, McGuire earned 31,411 votes — about 50.26 percent — to Good’s 31,084 votes, or 49.74 percent.

Video posted online by reporter Reese Gorman showed McGuire pumping his fist and beginning a “hooyah” chant with his supporters.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the votes are in and the people have spoken,” McGuire began. “It is an honor to be your Republican nominee … [inaudible].”

Good, meanwhile, did not concede defeat as of midnight.

“Right now, we’re still waiting on the final election results of today’s Primary,” he wrote in a post on X. “As we wait, I wanted to thank you for your support thus far. You made sure your vote was cast.”

Good thanked his staff and volunteers — “several of you had tough conversations to ensure people knew the truth about this race”— as well as poll workers. He also blasted what he called the “entire DC Swamp,” which he said was aligned against his campaign and supplied more than $10 million in attack ads.

“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,” Good said.

Even before Trump handed down his endorsement of McGuire, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) already signaled he was unlikely to commit resources to defending Good in his primary.

Virginia’s 5th District is a right-leaning constituency in the central and southern parts of the state, which also includes the heavily blue community of Charlottesville.

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While its boundaries and partisan composition have varied somewhat over the years, the district centered here hasn’t elected a Democrat in a congressional contest since 2008. However, one Republican elected in this district during that time, Rep. Denver Riggleman, became an outspoken Trump opponent and helped the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 conduct its investigation.

Both Good and McGuire spent the campaign trying to prove their Trump bona fides to voters, with the two traveling to Manhattan during the former president’s criminal trial to denounce the proceedings.

However, in the final days of the campaign, Trump officials slapped Good with a cease-and-desist order for using Trump’s campaign symbols on his own yard signs, implying an endorsement. Asked for comment, Good dismissed Trump’s opposition, calling it a “stupid topic.”

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