Republican Bob Good faces Trump-backed challenger in Virginia primary election

GOP Rep. Bob Good, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is looking to fend off a primary challenger backed by powerful Republicans including former President Donald Trump and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday.

Good’s primary in Virginia’s deep-red 5th District is among the most competitive races to be decided on Tuesday, and he could become the first sitting lawmaker to lose to a primary challenger this year.  Along with Virginia, Oklahoma will also hold its primaries Tuesday, and Georgia will hold primary runoffs. 

Good’s opponent, state Sen. John McGuire, is backed by some of Good’s own House colleagues as well as Trump and McCarthy.

Good drew Trump’s ire by endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, and he’s on McCarthy’s radar as one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust the former speaker late last year. 

Millions of dollars in ads have blanketed the 5th District airwaves, with McCarthy allies targeting Good. The two-term incumbent, meanwhile, has gotten boosts from outside groups tied to the Freedom Caucus, Club for Growth Action and Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul. 

Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole is also on defense Tuesday, with his chief primary opponent, businessman Paul Bondar, spending millions of dollars of his own money on the race. Cole and his allies have accused Bondar, who owns property in Oklahoma but not in the district, of actually being a Texan, leveraging the bitter rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Elsewhere in Virginia on Tuesday, Republican voters chose Navy veteran Hung Cao to take on Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November, NBC News projects. Cao, who had Trump’s endorsement in the race, led the Republican field in fundraising and defeated two other GOP contenders. 

Cao ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2022, losing to Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton by nearly 7 points. He is in for a tough race against Kaine, who is running for a third term in a state that has sent Democrats to the Senate in recent years. Biden won the state by 10 points in 2020 and Kaine won a second term in 2018 by 17 points.

In the House, Democrats are also picking a candidate to take on Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans in the 2nd District, and both parties are picking their nominees in the open 7th and 10th Districts. 

Kiggans will face Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal, a military veteran who had been backed by Virginia’s every Democratic House member from Virginia. This is a swing district that’s likely to be competitive in the fall, but Kiggans has a significant fundraising edge and defeated a Democratic incumbent there to win the seat in 2022.

Georgia will also hold its primary runoffs in races where no candidate won a majority of the primary vote back in March. 

In the Democratic-leaning 2nd District, activist Chuck Hand, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense in connection with the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, lost a runoff for the Republican nomination. And Trump’s former White House political director, Brian Jack, is looking to win the GOP runoff in the ruby red 3rd District. 

Polls closed in Georgia and Virginia at 7 p.m. ET and will close at 8 p.m. ET in Oklahoma.