OPINION | Bob Goode takes on John Maguire as Trump loyalty is put to the test

In the Donald Trump Loyalty Olympics, the Congressional Championships in central Virginia next week will be a hotly anticipated medal battle.

On one side, we have incumbent Representative Bob Good, a deeply conservative Republican who won a race that was much further to the right than his predecessor. As chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Good was one of the few far-right members of Congress who orchestrated the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and he has garnered support in next Tuesday’s Republican primary from Trump allies like Representatives Stephen K. Bannon, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert.

Meanwhile, his challenger is state Sen. John J. McGuire III (R-Goochland), whose “About John” section on his website is headlined “Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Trump.” Elected to the Virginia State Senate just seven months ago, McGuire was a clear underdog in the race until late May, when he beat Goode with an enthusiastic endorsement from the King of Queens himself:

“Bob Good is evil for Virginia and evil for the United States. He turned his back on our great movement and attacked and fought me until recently when he expressed his warm and ‘loving’ support. But the reality is, it was too late. The damage was already done!”

Wait, this is an endorsement of Trump. McGuireYes, he does call his challenger a “true American hero,” but this is mostly in retaliation for Goode committing the heresy of initially endorsing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a time when some believed the Republican Party might still exist independent of the former president.

Every Republican I called in the 5th District agreed that the differences between Goode and Maguire were slight when it came to what a lawmaker should actually do. This election could be seen as a showdown between the power of incumbency and the obligation to show absolute loyalty to Trump. But in reality, it’s the Loyalty Olympics.

Or, as Marjorie Taylor Greene put it, “Bob Good is an angry, disloyal MAGA traitor who was caught on camera doing everything he can to smear President Trump and take him down.”

But wait a second. During Trump’s criminal trial, you saw Rep. Goode in New York wearing his official loyalty suit and bright red tie. Yes, but Goode’s tie also had some blue in it, which could be perceived as less loyal. (In case that fact wasn’t already important, Rep. Goode has fully returned to the Trump camp after allying with DeSantis.)

Because we value wholeness and integrity, we should also add that Maguire also attended trial on the same day as Goode and wore his official loyalty suit (bright red tie), but while Goode merely stood outside the courthouse with the other Trump troopers, Maguire was able to ride in Trump’s motorcade from Trump Tower to the (totally rigged) courthouse.

(Apologies for the detailed explanation, but we want to provide voters with all the information they need to make an informed choice in this important election.)

Oh, and one other bit of trivia that may be useful: On January 6, 2021, Maguire attended the Trump rally on the National Mall, but says he did not go inside the Capitol building with the rioters or get inhaled.

You should also know that the Trump campaign sent Goode a strict cease and desist letter last week, demanding that he remove any yard signs that read “Trump/Bob Goode,” because the only official yard signs with guaranteed loyalty are those that read “John Maguire/Trump Endorsed.”

Now, how can a good Republican from the 5th District judge the Loyalty Olympics?

If you follow the money, you see millions of dollars going to Maguire (well, mostly opposing Goode) in the form of TV ads paid for by political action committees funded by Wall Street billionaires, and millions more going to ads for Goode paid for by political action committees funded by libertarian billionaires and the Club for Growth.

Not helping? How about this story: I called several Republican county chairs in the 5th District, who pointed out with dismay that McGuire had promised (on video!) last year that if elected to the State Senate he would support Good for reelection and not run against him. Confronted with that broken promise, McGuire told Cardinal News that it was a long time ago, “at least a year and a half ago.”

For Robin Horn, former chairwoman of the Louisa County Republican Committee, this isn’t prehistory at all. “They have the same beliefs: keeping the border closed and keeping America safe,” she told me. “But John McGuire lied and said he wasn’t going to run against Bob Good. People don’t like that.”

Horn, an ardent Trump supporter, has no problem forgiving Good for his brief stray. “Stop saying he’s disloyal because he supported DeSantis,” Horn said. “We all support President Trump, but to say President Trump is going to support Maguire because Bob Good supported DeSantis is childish. That’s not going to unite people.”

And I thought it was all about loyalty.

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