Freedom Caucus rebel Bob Good faces own ouster after bucking Trump and McCarthy – Washington Examiner

Among those facing primary challenges this year, one of the most competitive races is for the seat held by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), who has established himself as a hard-liner willing to buck leadership at the detriment of his own party.

Now, Good, who was elected to lead the hard-right House Freedom Caucus earlier this year, is facing a tough primary election on June 18 — and several of his Republican colleagues are backing his challenger, John McGuire.

“Good luck,” Good told reporters on Tuesday. “Most of them should come and campaign for my opponent in my district. That would be what really helps me.”

And, in fact, several of his colleagues are coming to his district to campaign for his opponent.

Several House Republicans, including Reps. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Austin Scott (R-GA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), and Morgan Luttrell (R-TX), are set to accompany McGuire at a campaign event Wednesday, a sign of trouble for Good as he fights for another term.

“John’s awesome,” Van Orden told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “Being a member of the SEAL teams, [he] understands what it means to be on a team. If you’re wearing the jersey, you’re on the team. If you’re wearing the jersey and you’re not on the team, I don’t want you on the team. It’s that simple.”

Good crossed former President Donald Trump by backing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for president and turned on former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He was one of eight Republicans to vote last October to oust the speaker, careening the House into a leaderless three-week period filled with infighting.

The Virginia Republican has developed a reputation on Capitol Hill for routinely voting against legislation — even bills introduced by his own party. He has also routinely vowed to vote against must-pass spending legislation if certain demands related to border security are not met, going so far as to threaten government shutdowns to make a point.

Van Orden pointed to Good’s history as a well-known rebel, arguing his reelection would only harm Republicans’ chances of maintaining their slim majority in the lower chamber.

“If we don’t maintain this majority and grow it, it’s gonna be Bob Good and the Freedom Caucus’s fault,” Van Orden said. “Flat out. Period. It’s their fault. They’re more destructive to Congress than anybody, and they’re going to wear that as a badge of pride, when in fact, it’s a badge of stupidity and the inability to do strategic thinking.”

Good pushed back on the criticism that he is an unproductive member who is regularly expected to vote against legislation.

“They should stop doing things that are worth saying no to,” Good said.

But Good is not defenseless in his reelection efforts. Several of his fellow hard-liners and Freedom Caucus members are coalescing around the chairman, with several appearing alongside him in Virginia next week. Among those to join him include Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Chip Roy (R-TX), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Dan Bishop (R-NC), and Andy Harris (R-MD).

“He’s a good friend,” Clyde said. “He’s the chairman of our Freedom Caucus. So of course I’m gonna support him.”

When asked if a competitive primary against a leader of the Freedom Caucus is concerning to members, Clyde noted, “That’s a problem. And I think that needs to be addressed internally.”

Good has hit out against McGuire as a challenger, decrying him as a “SWAMP backed candidate” who was “handpicked by Kevin McCarthy, supported by RINOs and funded by K Street lobbyists and California donors.”

The high-profile challenge comes as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has implored members not to get involved with other members’ primaries, instead urging Republicans to project a sense of unity ahead of the 2024 election. Johnson has made that plea a number of times, including during closed-door conference meetings and the conference’s two-day retreat last week.


However, several Freedom Caucus members are still actively campaigning against Republican incumbents to push for more conservative candidates as they seek to solidify their influence in the House. One such example is Republican candidate Adam Morgan, a state representative from South Carolina who is challenging Rep. William Timmons (R-SC) for his seat. At least seven Freedom Caucus members have endorsed Morgan in the race.

However, some GOP leaders have pushed back on the perception of disunity stemming from GOP members seeking to oust their fellow incumbents, noting primary challenges are not specific to the Republican Party.