In a Race Too Tight To Call, VA-05 May Be Headed To a Recount

Tuesday was a late night as primary votes were counted and results posted. At the end of the day all waited for absentee votes to be counted  in the VA-05 Congressional race between incumbent Bob Good, chairman of the “freedom” caucus, and challenger John McGuire. And waited, and waited, and waited.

On election eve Donald Trump held a telephone townhall rally for McGuire (Virginia Mercury) that by some accounts had upwards of 20,000 McGuire supporters listening in.

Good spent the past four years narrowing his base and the results played out Tuesday night. John McGuire eeked out a win, so to speak, with a 300+ vote lead, but the race was too close to call since it fell within the recount zone. Final numbers according to VPAP:

John McGuire: 50.25% (31,371 votes)

Bob Good: 49.75% (31,055 votes)

McGuire declared victory; Good said there’s still counting to be done (The Hill).

From UVA’s Center for Politics’ J. Miles Coleman, Associate Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball:

The VA-5 race could end up going to a recount—the losing candidate can request one if the margin in the race is a percentage point or less, and election authorities will pay for the recount if the margin is half a percentage point or less (the candidate pays if the margin is higher than that and the outcome is not reversed). As of right now, McGuire is winning 50.25% to 49.75% for Good, so the result is hovering at almost exactly that half a percentage point figure.

Politico Playbook adds:

It’s still possible that late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots could swing in Good’s direction, and — to be perfectly clear — his showing is actually impressive given the steady attacks he took from Trump in recent weeks. Still, you know what they say about horseshoes and hand grenades, and a 327-vote margin is going to be hard for Good to make up.

Ballotpedia offered background:

According to University of Virginia professor Kyle Kondik, support for former President Donald Trump (R) was an issue in the race: “Though Good is very conservative ideologically, McGuire can undercut that by saying he’s not loyal.” According to University of Lynchburg professor David Richards, Good’s vote to remove Kevin McCarthy (R) as House Speaker was also a point of difference between the candidates: “Ever since the ouster of McCarthy from the speaker position, Good and some others have been viewed by the mainstream GOP as more obstructionist than team players.”

From reporters Ally Mutnick and Olivia Beavers at Politico:

Whatever the ultimate outcome, it is certain to reverberate across the House GOP as Good’s colleagues anxiously wait to see whether the bomb-throwing lawmaker will be further emboldened to cause turmoil in the House in the final months before the fall election.

The crux of the issue was that Good threw his support behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis when DeSantis was making a bid for President 2024 and that, in Trump’s playbook, was a huge breach of loyalty (never mind that Trump never feels loyalty is a two-way street). When DeSantis withdrew, Good took hat in hand and endorsed Trump. But it was too late to avoid the intraparty challenge.

As all wait for word of whether there will be a recount in VA-05 – and who among us doesn’t honestly believe there will be – these other Virginia election results were final.

U.S. Senate

Democrat: Incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine

Republican: Hung Cao


Democrat: Leslie Mehta

Republican: Incumbent Rob Wittman


Democrat: Missy Cotter Smasal

Republican: Incumbent Jen Kiggans


Democrat: Gloria Witt

Republican: Undecided


This was an open seat since Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) has announced she is running for Virginia Governor.

Democrat: Eugene Vindman

Republican: Derrick Anderson


Democrat: Suhas Subramanyam

Republican: Mike Clancy


Democrat: Incumbent Gerry Connolly

Republican: Michael Van Meter

Cardinal News editor Dwayne Yancey has a must-read opinion piece about Tuesday’s primary: 10 takeaways from the primary results.

Mr. Yancey also has an informative running commentary as returns came in: Election live: McGuire may have won but it’s not over yet. Here’s what happens next.

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