Residents of Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District will vote on June 18 on whether to send back one of the leaders of the conservative movement or nominate a primary opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump in one of the most-watched primary contests this election year.

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), chairman of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, is facing a challenge from Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, a former Navy SEAL. As the two have similar policy positions on issues such as border security, the contest has focused largely on loyalty to former President Trump.

The seat is likely to stay in GOP hands as Mr. Good won reelection in 2022 with 57.6 percent of the vote.

Mr. Good, who has held the seat since January 2021, has come under fire from supporters of former President Trump for initially endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential race. Mr. Good endorsed former President Trump after Mr. DeSantis dropped out.

He had justified his support for the Florida governor by saying that while he liked what President Trump did while in office, he wants eight more years of his policies. Former President Trump is only eligible to serve four more years in the White House.

In a post on his social media site, Truth Social, former President Trump reiterated the theme of disloyalty, saying that despite the House Freedom Caucus chair’s subsequent endorsement, “the damage had been done.”

When asked by The Epoch Times if he regretted endorsing Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Good said “The time for talking about previous endorsements is over.”

He said, following a June 7 rally on the lawn in front of a courthouse in Powhatan, Virginia, that it’s time to unite behind former President Trump.

Former President Trump is set to host a tele-rally for Mr. McGuire on June 17.

Support in Congress

Members of the Freedom Caucus that have endorsed Mr. Good include Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Eric Burlison (R-Mo.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.), Ben Cline (R-Va.), and Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

Mr. Perry was Mr. Good’s predecessor as Freedom Caucus chairman.

One Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), on June 16 announced his support for Mr. McGuire, calling him “conservative and effective.”

In addition to former President Trump, other prominent Republicans that have endorsed Mr. McGuire include Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.).

The Epoch Times has contacted the McGuire campaign for comment.

Former President Trump is not the only one looking to oust Mr. Good in the June 18 primary.

A super PAC affiliated with Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that supports moderate Republicans, has spent more than $450,000 to defeat the GOP incumbent, according to Open Secrets.

If Mr. Good loses, he will be the first House incumbent to go down to a primary challenge this year, with the exception of one race in which two incumbents faced off due to redistricting.

A recent poll from the Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition shows Mr. McGuire and Mr. Good with 41 percent and 31 percent of the vote, respectively, though 29 percent are undecided.

GOP strategist M. Woodrow Johnston said he believes that at the end of the day, the primary is about revenge.

Mr. Good was one of eight Republicans who joined Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House Speaker in October 2023.

Mr. M. Woodrow Johnston told The Epoch Times that GOP lawmakers aligned with Mr. McCarthy, such as Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.), want Mr. Good to pay for supporting the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair.

Mr. Johnston said he believes Mr. Good’s endorsement of the Florida governor was a mistake that could cost him the seat. He predicts Mr. McGuire will win the primary, though it will be close.

However, a Trump endorsement does not necessarily mean that Mr. McGuire will be victorious, said Mr. Johnston, who cited Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-N.C.) upsetting former Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) in 2022 despite the incumbent being endorsed by former President Trump.

Terri Wu and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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