The race for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District is heating up as state Sen. John McGuire, a former Navy Seal and a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, is taking on Rep. Bob Good, the incumbent and the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, who endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president last year.
McGuire touts his loyalty to Trump
McGuire, who won his state Senate seat in the 10th District in November 2023, was one of the first elected officials in Virginia to endorse Trump for reelection in 2024. He campaigned for the former president in Iowa, where Trump secured a resounding win in the first Republican presidential contest of 2024 on Monday.
McGuire’s alliance with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee gives him an important advantage in his biggest political fight to date. In a district that Trump won by 53% in both 2016 and 2020, McGuire’s early endorsement of the Republican frontrunner created the sharpest contrast between himself and Good, who backed DeSantis in May of last year.
McGuire has been hammering the Republican incumbent in interviews and on social media, accusing him of “hating Trump,” being a “Never-Trumper” and a “RINO,” a derogatory moniker for “Republican In Name Only,” who is working to help Democrats.
Good faces backlash for his endorsement of DeSantis
Good, who was elected to Virginia’s 5th Congressional District after beating former Rep. Denver Riggleman in a drive-through Republican Party convention in 2020, has faced backlash for his decision to endorse DeSantis instead of Trump in the presidential primaries.
The Trump team’s decision to get involved changes the dynamics of the race, and a quirky primary format that helped Good in 2020 isn’t available in 2024. “Bob Good won’t be electable when we get done with him,” Chris LaCivita, Trump’s campaign manager, told Cardinal News.
Facing criticism for his endorsement, Good asserted that he is not a “Never Trumper,” praising the former president on Wednesday. “I’m not against President Trump — I like what President Trump did. I just think we need eight years and so that’s why I endorsed Gov. DeSantis,” Good told reporters on Wednesday.
However, some of Good’s colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers, have expressed their displeasure with his endorsement of DeSantis, who does not look very competitive against Trump.
“President Trump more than likely is going to support his opponent and he’s still supporting DeSantis who is going to lose horrifically — the primary is already over. God bless him,” Rep. Max Miller said.
“Bob Good is following in the same footsteps as Eric Cantor,” Miller added, referring to the former House majority leader who lost his seat in a shocking primary upset in 2014.
The race is expected to be heated and expensive
The race for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, which will be decided in a primary election on June 18, is set to be one of the most viciously fought in recent history.
The race is expected to be heated and expensive, and it remains unclear whether conservative outside groups will spend to boost Good or McGuire in the race. Good currently only has $182,120 in cash-on-hand, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
The winner of the primary will face the Democratic nominee, who will be chosen in a party-run firehouse primary on May 11. The Democratic candidates are former Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, Albemarle County Supervisor Ann Mallek, and Charlottesville City Councilor Lloyd Snook.
The 5th Congressional District, which stretches from the North Carolina border to the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C., is considered a safe Republican seat by most political analysts.