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Virginia GOP primary too close to call in race Trump and McCarthy try to oust House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good

Virginia primary splinters MAGA movement
Virginia congressional race splinters MAGA movement 04:17

Republican voters in Virginia's 5th Congressional District do not yet know whether House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good was on his way to his fifth term in office or whether opponent, state Sen. John McGuire, a former Navy SEAL, won Tuesday's GOP primary, a race that highlighted a divide within the Trump faction of the GOP.

With 96% of the votes counted McGuire leads with 31,402 votes, compared to 31,057 for Good — a tiny margin of 0.4%, just 345 votes. All state offices in Virginia are closed Wednesday, in observation of the  Juneteenth holiday, so the remaining votes will be counted Thursday. 

The winner of the Republican primary is almost certainly likely to win the general election in the Southside Virginia district. The nonpartisan election tracker, Cook Political Report, rates the race "Solid Republican."

Good lost the support of both Kevin McCarthy-aligned Republicans in the wake of his vote to oust McCarthy as speaker and former President Donald Trump, after he endorsed the former president's primary opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Good later endorsed Trump after DeSantis dropped out, but not soon enough for Trump, who posted on Truth Social, "It was too late" — and then endorsed his primary challenger.

"Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA," Trump wrote, adding, "I just want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, and the person that can most help me do that is Navy Seal and highly respected State Legislator, John McGuire, a true American Hero."

At a telerally for McGuire on Monday night, Trump said, "If he's reelected, Bob Good will stab Virginia in the back, sort of like he did with me."

McGuire has also been knocking Good in ads for his disloyalty to Trump. In a recent ad, McGuire is holding a rifle while a narrator says, "Trump doesn't need another backstabber in Congress. He needs John McGuire — a straight shooter who always has his six."

McGuire not only has the former president's support but also has been endorsed by other Trump-aligned Republicans including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Freedom Caucus member Warren Davidson. Some of Good's  GOP colleagues in Washington have come to the district to support McGuire, including Rep. Jen Kiggans of Virginia, who has even helped fundraise for Good's challenger.

But Good still has a swath of endorsements from congressional Republicans like Reps. Matt Gaetz and Byron Donald of Florida and Virginia Rep. Ben Cline.

Outside groups also poured money into this race to boost Good's reelection bid, while others —including some with ties to McCarthy— spent millions trying to unseat him. McGuire also narrowly outraised Good, $1.2 million to $1.1 million, according to May federal election documents.

This will be McCarthy's second attempt to unseat one of the lawmakers who voted to oust him. He did not succeed in dislodging Rep. Nancy Mace, who won her primary last week.

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