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Trump and McCarthy sought revenge against top House conservative, but GOP primary too close to call

In Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, one of the nation’s most conservative lawmakers is battling a closely fought primary against a candidate backed by former President Trump and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Bob Good, chairman of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, was trailing his primary opponent, state Sen. John Maguire, by less than 350 votes as of noon Wednesday in the reliably Republican southern state of Virginia.

Virginia is celebrating the Juneteenth holiday on June 19, and the race’s remaining uncounted ballots may not be counted again until Thursday. The race’s current margin of victory is less than 1 percentage point, which, if it holds, would make it eligible for a recount under Virginia law.

FOX News Poll: Biden, Trump in close race in Virginia

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good speaks with other lawmakers during a press conference on March 22, 2024, at the U.S. Capitol. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Good, who is seeking his third term in Congress, is hoping to avoid becoming the first incumbent House member this election cycle to be ousted by a primary challenger in a fierce intraparty primary battle pitting conservatives against conservatives and some of Trump’s top allies in the House.

“We need leaders who know how to put aside petty differences and bring people together for a better future,” Maguire, a former Navy SEAL, told supporters Tuesday night. “And that’s what I believe in.”

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His comments were made when he prematurely declared victory during a speech at a campaign party in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Trump-backed candidate John Maguire is facing a close primary against House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good.

Sen. John Maguire, a candidate in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, addresses supporters, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Virginia. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

Good did not speak at the primary night rally, also in Lynchburg, but said in a social media post that “we are still awaiting the final election results.”

In a race that saw a massive $14 million spent, much of it targeted at the incumbent, Good wrote, “No matter the outcome, you have shown the DC Swamp that you will never give up on standing up for justice. Keep the faith and don’t stop the fight now.”

Goode drew the ire of President Trump for being one of the few House Republicans to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary.

While Goode avoided criticizing Trump and was quick to endorse the former president after DeSantis ended his bid for the White House in January, Trump wrote on the Truth Social platform that “the damage has already been done!”

The former president endorsed Maguire last month, who also has the backing of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conservative firebrand and key ally of President Trump who has been a vocal critic of Goode, who left the House Freedom Caucus last year, a group considered the most right-leaning caucus in the House.

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California

California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy is seen at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 3, 2023, during his removal from his position as Speaker of the House. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mr. McCarthy also targeted Ms. Goode, who was one of eight Republicans who voted with Democrats to oust Mr. McCarthy from his leadership position last fall.

Goode has the backing of conservative Reps. Matt Gaetz and Byron Donald of Florida, both strong supporters of Trump.

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Fellow House Freedom Caucus members Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Andy Biggs of Arizona rallied with Good in Virginia on Friday.

Despite being targeted by Trump, Goode stressed his support for the former president, who is seeking reelection.

Rep. Bob Good, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, will face off against a pro-Trump challenger, but the outcome is hard to predict.

Rep. Bob Good, left, Republican primary candidate for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, greets family members at a viewing party, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Lynchburg, Virginia. (AP Photo/P. Kevin Morley)

“Happy Birthday to the best President-elect of the United States of America, President Trump!” Goode posted on social media on Friday, what would have been the former president’s 78th birthday.

Goode also attended Trump’s criminal trial in New York City this spring, showing her support for the former president.

Get the latest 2024 campaign updates, exclusive interviews and more on Fox News Digital’s Election Hub.