Trump left red-faced in Virginia after MAGA candidate fails to grab decisive win

Bob Good shows some Republicans can still take on Donald Trump and have a fighting chance

Eric Garcia
Thursday 20 June 2024 00:11 BST
Comments
Related video: Virginia primary elections 2024 results

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Donald Trump’s revenge tour hit a snag in Virginia on Tuesday night during the state’s primaries.

The former president had endorsed retired Navy SEAL John McGuire, a GOP state senator, and challenger to incumbent Bob Good after he committed the irredeemable sin of backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary.

Both Virginians had jostled for Trump’s approval and in a scene worthy of sitcom, showed up to Trump’s hush money trial on the same day in New York last month in an attempt to gain it.

As of Wednesday morning, things weren’t looking great for the MAGA candidate. McGuire had only a 309-vote lead and the race remains too close to call - hardly the kind of blowout that a Trump-backed candidate should enjoy, especially in an area with tons of rural, deep red pockets.

It’s a suprising outcome as the odds had seemed stacked against Good. Not only was Trump against him but so was former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy whose political action committee gave $10,000 to McGuire. That money was payback for Good joining Matt Gaetz and six other Republicans in kicking out McCarthy as speaker back in October.

Virginia Representative Bob Good traveled to New York last month to show his fealty to former president Donald Trump at his hush money criminal trial. That did not prevent Trump from endorsing his primary opponent. Good’s race was too close to call in Virginia on Wednesday
Virginia Representative Bob Good traveled to New York last month to show his fealty to former president Donald Trump at his hush money criminal trial. That did not prevent Trump from endorsing his primary opponent. Good’s race was too close to call in Virginia on Wednesday (Getty Images)

Good should have fit the MAGA mold perfectly as he resembles many of the Tea Party hellraisers who dominated the conservative wing of the House Republican conference, even before Trump came along.

He knocked off an incumbent Republican in the 2020 election, who had presided over a same-sex wedding. A year later on the House floor, Good said: “Nearly everything that plagues our society can be attributed to a failure to follow God’s law and his rules for and definition of marriage and family.”

But Trump turned on him after he endorsed DeSantis. Good was also caught on video last year in a private conversation saying that Trump could lose to Biden.

But the Good-McGuire contest reveals that Trump cannot always decisively smite his perceived enemies, and oust them in favor of filling Republican ranks with acolytes.

It also appears that a sizeable number of people in Good’s district like that he consistently holds Republican leadership to account. Far from being punished for voting against Republican bills and causing gridlock the House, Tuesday’s primary shows plenty of voters want to reward his behavior by keeping him in Washington.

If Good ultimately wins the primary, he is likely to keep the House seat for Republicans in November. The non-partisan Cook Political Reportrates the seat as “Safe Republican.”

Trump-endorsed candidate John McGuire meets voters in June 2024 at a campaign stop. His primary race against Good was closer than many had expected
Trump-endorsed candidate John McGuire meets voters in June 2024 at a campaign stop. His primary race against Good was closer than many had expected (Facebook: John McGuire)

While that is good news for House Republicans, a Good victory would be bad news for Trump.

If Trump wins and Republicans control the House, Good will not feel the need to fall in line if he thinks he is betraying conservative values. Good has consistently voted against Republican spending bills and even in opposition to giving aid to Israel despite Republicans’ mostly unwavering support.

Good values fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets - traditional conservative values.

In a potential Trump administration, Good won’t fall in with the former president if he thinks Trump’s spending bills will bust the budget.

But the Virginia congressman is in a dwindling number - even Republicans who once complained about debt ceiling increases, like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, now vote debt limit increases without consequence. Their fealty to Trump inoculates them from criticism. Conservatives who did care about fiscal values, and not for Trump’s grandstanding or election denial like Ken Buck in Colorado and Justin Amash in Michigan, are gone.

But Good’s valiant primary fight shows there is still a constituency for this type of Republican.

And the close contest shows that a Trump endorsement is not an automatic guarantee of victory. If Good somehow pulls off a victory in Virginia, he will have considerable leverage against Trump in a potential future administration. Now, he can always say that voters in Virginia’s 5th district preferred him even after Trump anointed a challenger.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in