US House Freedom Caucus chair faces tough primary as Trump endorses rival

Last Updated: June 22, 2024By

The Political Drama in Virginia’s Fifth District

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Bob Good, a representative from Virginia, has managed to do something quite extraordinary—he’s brought together Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy’s allies, all in a bid to unseat the chair of the hard-right Freedom Caucus.

Heading into his Tuesday primary in Virginia’s fifth congressional district, Good faces a challenge from Republican state senator John McGuire. McGuire’s crucial endorsement from Trump has added serious heat to the race. Good’s decision to support Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary had already irked fellow House Republicans, but Trump’s backing of McGuire has put Good’s re-election in serious jeopardy.

Trump’s ongoing frustration over Good’s previous support for DeSantis has led to glowing endorsements for McGuire, whom Trump now calls “a true American Hero”. Good’s later endorsement of Trump failed to win back the former president’s favor.

“Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA,” Trump declared on Truth Social recently. “He turned his back on our incredible movement, and was constantly attacking and fighting me until recently, when he gave a warm and ‘loving’ Endorsement – But really, it was too late.”

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Trump even sent Good a cease and desist letter, demanding that his campaign stop using his name and likeness to promote re-election.

With Trump’s accusations of disloyalty hanging over him, Good faces attacks from more establishment-minded Republicans as well. They argue that Good, as Freedom Caucus chair, has undermined the party’s goals by advocating aggressive funding cuts and rejecting foreign aid packages.

Despite their policy similarities, McCarthy and his allies have thrown their weight behind McGuire. This support comes despite McGuire’s attendance at Trump’s rally before the January 6 Capitol attack. McGuire insists he didn’t enter the Capitol that day.

In the run-up to the primary, House Republicans have campaigned for McGuire in Good’s district. McCarthy has urged supporters to donate to McGuire’s campaign, and outside groups have spent heavily against Good, with the American Patriots Pac alone spending over $4.3m in the race.

But Good has allies too, with members of the House Freedom Caucus backing him. Congressman Matt Gaetz and hard-right groups have thrown their support and money behind Good’s re-election.

Outside groups have poured over $10m into the district, but polls remain conflicting about whether Good or McGuire has the edge.

While Good may be favored to win a third term if he survives the primary, his endorsement missteps could cost him dearly.

The wider implications of these races extend beyond Virginia, affecting the national fight for control of Congress. Trump’s endorsements in Virginia’s Senate and House races reflect broader political battles shaping up across the country, making this primary crucial for both parties’ futures.

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