While the House GOP Tries to Maintain Its Majority, Trump Takes Aim at Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

Republicans in the House, under Speaker Mike Johnson, have a 1-seat majority, and they are fighting as a caucus to keep that majority as well as fighting as a caucus with itself. Still, most Republicans in the chamber know that overall unity – persevering through November – is key to holding onto the House no matter which presidential candidate wins in 2024.

However, not all Republicans outside of the House feel so strongly. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his allies are spending a great deal of money to take out the people who ousted him. Other groups are going after the “RINOs” in an effort to cause more intra-party bloodshed rather than win.

READ MORE: McCarthy’s Revenge Tour Continues As Allies Begin Funding Challengers to Those Who Ousted Him

But, perhaps the greatest risk the party faces (when it comes to unity, at least) is the risk posed by former president and current presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Trump has not withheld his criticisms of Republicans he feels are not sufficiently loyal, going so far as to back primary challengers of some. One of those is the chair of the Freedom Caucus, the most conservative organization in the House, Bob Good.

Is Bob Good perfect? No. Is anybody? Also no. Can the Republicans afford bitter primary fights and divided voter bases in 2024? Again, and more emphatically, no.

The primary is on June 18, and the district is solidly Republican. Is it in danger of falling into Democrats’ hands? Probably not. But the in-fighting comes at a huge cost. Bob Good supporters could choose to stay home in November, and Trump can’t afford to lose any votes, even in a state like Virginia, which has a Republican governor but still leans to the left. Could Trump win it? Given Biden’s current struggles against Trump in the polling, there’s always a shot (the current polling average, though nowhere close to up-to-date, has Biden up roughly 4 points).

The issue isn’t losing Good’s seat to the Democrats. The issue is keeping Republicans motivated to vote. If Trump can’t do that because of some insecurity about loyalty, then he could end up costing his party (and his potential future administration) the necessary legislative support.

As far as Good goes, he’s probably made his own bed here. Members of his own party are fully on board with endorsing his opponent. He himself has also endorsed the primary opponents of some of his colleagues, only to turn around and ask Johnson that the Speaker and his allies give him an assist.

One Republican with direct knowledge of the conversation said that Good asked Johnson to stop the Congressional Leadership Fund, the GOP leadership-aligned super PAC, from spending in his race. A different Republican involved with Congressional Leadership Fund operations, also granted anonymity to speak candidly, said the super PAC had no plans to get involved even before Good’s private appeal; its chief focus this cycle is winning and keeping battleground seats.
Johnson indicated in an interview with POLITICO last month that he would fight to reelect all of his incumbents — arguing that his job is to help “protect the entire flock.”
But Johnson is not planning to endorse Good, according to a third Republican with direct knowledge, who pointed to endorsements Good has issued against incumbent colleagues despite Johnson’s repeated warnings against intra-party infighting. That includes Good’s backing of Derrick Evans, who participated in the Capitol riot and is mounting a primary challenge to Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.).

Like I said, Good isn’t perfect, and he also deserves scorn for promoting intra-party fights during a critical election year. But Trump is the most powerful Republican out there, and his endorsement or condemnation means a whole lot more.


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