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Bolling: Battle for GOP Nomination in 5th Congressional District Is One to Watch

For the past four years, Rep. Bob Good has represented Virginia’s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, Good has established himself as one of the most conservative, ideologically rigid, and disruptive members of Congress.

For example, Good was one of the Republicans who led the revolt against former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and he even opposed the election of current House Speaker Mike Johnson. And Bob Good has never seen a government shutdown he didn’t like.

But last year Good made a fundamental mistake, at least for many in the base of the GOP. He chose to endorse Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination for President, as opposed to former President Donald Trump.

That earned Good the wrath of the Trump cult, including state Delegate John McGuire, who at the time was running for a seat in the Virginia State Senate.

Within hours of his election to the State Senate in November, McGuire announced that he would challenge Good for the Republican nomination for Congress this year.

McGuire’s campaign is based on the belief that Good committed the unpardonable sin for choosing to endorse DeSantis over Trump. McGuire alleges that Good is a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and should be ousted from Congress.

This is, of course, a laughable charge, but it is pleasingly ironic since it was Good who leveled the same charge against his predecessor, former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who Good ousted in a Republican convention in 2020.

Good alleged that Riggleman was a RINO because of his failure to toe the far right’s ideological line as rigidly as Good and his supporters thought he should have done.

As for McGuire, there is no doubt that he is a faithful member of the Trump cult, and someone who would stake out positions that would be just as radical as many of the positions that have advanced Good to the job of chairing the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.

There is also no doubt that McGuire suffers from unbridled political ambition, which can be a dangerous thing.

Before running for the State Senate in 2023, McGuire sought the Republican nomination for Congress in the 7th congressional district but lost that nomination battle. He then announced his candidacy for the State Senate, and as noted above, announced that he would be challenging Good in the 5th district even before his election to the State Senate had been certified.

I’ve been involved in Virginia politics for more than 30 years, and I don’t think I have seen anyone with the unbridled political ambition McGuire has demonstrated.

And Good certainly has demonstrated political hubris. Even though he opposed Johnson for Speaker of the House, he has now asked for Johnson’s support of his reelection campaign. You just can’t make this stuff up!

Honestly, this is not a contest between “good guys” and “bad guys.” These are all “bad guys” who represent what is wrong with the Republican Party.

In today’s GOP it is no longer enough to be a consistent conservative Republican who understands the realities of political life in a divided Congress.

To be acceptable to many within the Republican base, you must be an uncompromising right-wing ideologue who refuses to seek common ground on almost anything; and in the case of McGuire and his kind, you must also be a devoted member of the Trump cult.

I honestly don’t care who wins this nomination, which will be decided in a Republican primary election on June 18th. I’m just enjoying the fight between Good and McGuire, neither of which deserve to represent the people of the 5th district in Congress.

This race shows that no one is safe when unbridled political ambition meets up with extreme right-wing ideology and the demand for an unwavering commitment to Donald Trump.