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Rep. Bob Good files for recount in Virginia GOP congressional primary

U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., one of Congress’ most conservative members, filed a petition Thursday for a recount after state election officials say he narrowly lost a primary last month to a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump.

The Good campaign said it filed the recount petition in Goochland County outside of Richmond. The campaign had the option of filing in any courthouse within the sprawling 5th Congressional District, which he has represented since 2021.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the campaign to move ahead with the recount process. In the meantime, Congressman Good will continue serving his constituents and fighting for reduced spending, secure borders, and our constitutional freedoms,” the campaign said in an emailed statement.

Earlier this month, the state board of elections declared state Sen. John McGuire the winner over Good in the 5th District primary. McGuire’s margin of victory was 374 votes out of nearly 63,000 ballots cast, or six-tenths of a percentage point.

Because the margin of victory was less than a percentage point, though, Good was entitled to seek a recount under state law.

Good’s campaign will be required to pay for the recount, though, because the margin is greater than half a percentage point. The campaign will get a refund if the recount results in Good’s victory.

The Associated Press said the race is too close to call and failed to declare a winner, citing Good’s plans to seek a recount.

Good had signaled for weeks that he would seek a recount. He has c laimed that there were voting irregularities in Lynchburg and elsewhere, but elections officials have said the count is accurate and they are confident in the results.

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

Good, who chairs the hard-right House Freedom Caucus and has a staunchly conservative voting record, might have been immune to a primary challenge under normal political dynamics.

But Good drew the ire of Trump voters after he endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential contest. Trump endorsed McGuire, a state senator and former Navy SEAL, and called Good a backstabber.

Good also alienated the Republican establishment for his efforts to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. A Republican political action committee, Defending Main Street, which almost always spends money to support GOP incumbents, launched a $450,000 ad campaign against Good.

In an emailed statement, McGuire campaign consultant Sean Brown said “(r)ecounting the ballots and delaying the inevitable may make Bob feel better, but it won’t make him congressman again. More people voted for John McGuire than voted for Bob Good, no matter how many times he counts it.”

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Gloria Witt in November in a district that tilts conservative.

Under state law, a Goochland County judge is expected to schedule a preliminary hearing in the next seven days to establish procedures for a recount.

Matthew Barakat, The Associated Press