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Cliffhanger Virginia race between Good and Trump-backed challenger is too close to call

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A tightly contested race in Virginia between one of America’s most conservative congressmen and a challenger endorsed by former President Donald Trump is too close to call, The Associated Press said Monday.

The AP issued an advisory saying that the margin separating U.S. Rep. Bob Good and state Sen. John McGuire is likely to remain within a margin of a single percentage point. That means the race is eligible for a recount under state law.

Good, who currently trails by more than 300 votes out of nearly 63,000 cast, has said he will seek a recount if the state electoral board certifies McGuire as the winner.

McGuire’s lead has actually grown slightly since early Wednesday morning.

Good on Monday also told former Trump adviser and right-wing podcaster Steve Bannon that he will be pursuing a legal challenge to block the certification of the count in the city of Lynchburg, the largest city in the 5th Congressional District and a Good stronghold.

“Lynchburg is the big key. That can’t be certified. There’s no confidence in Lynchburg’s results,” Good said.

Good and others have claimed that the city botched the vote count by accepting ballots from a drop box after election night.

In a statement Monday, the city registrar acknowledged a procedural error but said fewer than 10 ballots, if any, were affected.

The statement from the registrar’s office says the drop box, located inside the registrar’s office, was emptied out just before 1 p.m. on Election Day. But the box was not emptied again until Friday, June 21. Seven ballots were inside.

The registrar’s statement says staffers in the registrar’s office saw multiple ballots dropped off legally in the afternoon on Election Day but did not see any ballots placed in the box after that.

Those seven ballots have since been mixed in with another batch of ballots, and the registrar has said counting has been placed on hold while they consult with the Virginia Department of Elections on what to do next.

The department of elections said in an email Monday that it’s monitoring the situation in Lynchburg. The state elections board is currently scheduled to meet July 2 to certify the results.

Only after the results are certified can Good request a recount.

McGuire, who claimed victory on election night, issued a statement Monday thanking Good for his service and suggesting that a recount or a legal challenge would be pointless and divisive.

“While I understand the desire to continue the fight, the outcome of this election will not change,” he said.

Both Good and McGuire are among Republicans who have raised concerns about election integrity in the wake of Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in his 2020 reelection defeat. Good was among more than 100 GOP House members who voted in January 2021 to object to the Electoral College count from states that Trump disputed.

In an election eve telephone rally with Trump last week, McGuire urged supporters to deliver him a margin of victory “too big to rig.”

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

The Associated Press