Bob Good Tries Election-Denial Tactics on Trump’s Candidate

Virginia 5th Congressional District Primary

Representative Good with supporters at a campaign rally in June.
Photo: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

One of the more interesting GOP congressional primaries of 2024 has involved House Freedom Caucus chairman Bob Good of Virginia, who managed to attract opposition from two very different factions of Republicans. It’s understandable that Establishment Republicans loyal to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would back state legislator John McGuire since Good was one of the prime movers in the successful effort to ruin McCarthy’s career by taking away his gavel. But Good also earned the ire of Donald Trump by endorsing Ron DeSantis’s 2024 presidential candidacy, so Trump also backed McGuire.

This pincers movement put a big fat bull’s-eye on Good’s back in his conservative south-central Virginia district, which he first claimed after a 2020 challenge to another Republican incumbent who was deemed insufficiently conservative. But Good battled back gamely, continuing to identify himself with Trump and MAGA despite the 45th president’s support for his opponent, as Politico reported:

Trump’s campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter last month seeking to block Good’s campaign from putting the two men’s names together on signs. But the Good team kept using and touting signs with Trump’s name — to criticism from McGuire, who said in an interview that Good is trying to “trick people.”

Asked about the flap over his Trump-themed signs, Good replied: “I’m not talking about stupid topics. That’s a stupid topic.”

Good did have some residual support from Trump loyalists, most visibly from the soon-to-be-jailed MAGA ultra Steve Bannon, who paused his fight to stay out of the hoosegow long enough to appear with the embattled right-wing congressman in his district. And make no mistake, Good did not let McGuire outflank him on the right:

To the surprise of most observers, Good and McGuire were neck and neck on primary night, and media outlets have yet to call the race. But McGuire, nursing a lead of a few hundred votes, claimed victory a few hours after the polls closed. In disputing the claim, Good made the absolutely legitimate but ironic argument that Virginia allows mail ballots postmarked by Election Day but received a few days later to be counted (a practice that has been regularly attacked by Trump and other conservatives as highly conducive to election fraud), making any conclusion premature.

With all the votes now in, however, Good has switched tactics in challenging McGuire’s residual 373-vote lead. He’s coming up with all sorts of dubious grounds for preventing state certification of the outcome, many of them redolent of Trump’s challenge to his own 2020 defeat, as the Washington Post reports:

Last week on X, [Good] said he found it suspicious that polling places in three jurisdictions had fire alarms go off on Election Day. On Monday, he told former Trump White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon that a drop box at the Lynchburg registrar’s office had been “left to be stuffed for two or three days after the election.”

“We’ve got data concerns that we can demonstrate where the trends and the data just don’t make any sense,” he said on Bannon’s “War Room” program … “I’m not going to get into particulars on those because we don’t want to tip our hand to the opposition.”

A recount is almost certain, but Good is clearly preserving the right to fight any final certification in court and, ultimately, among Republican opinion leaders. And why not? We are on the brink of a 2024 general election in which a contested result is very likely if Trump and his party don’t win outright. It’s a climate in which any Trump-fearing conservative will never, ever accept defeat without exhausting every legal and political remedy. Indeed, fighting his defeat tooth and nail may be Good’s most convincing illustration that he’s the true MAGA candidate in this race: Routine election denial is one of Trump’s great legacies in American politics. It certainly won’t be easy for McGuire to say the game’s over when the liberal-media arbiters of election results say it’s over

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