Cliffhanger Virginia race between Good and Trump-backed challenger too close to call

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A hotly contested race in Virginia between one of America’s most conservative members of Congress and a challenger backed by the former president. Donald Trump is too close to call, the Associated Press said Monday.

The AP published a notice saying the margin separating U.S. Rep. Bob Good and state Sen. John McGuire should remain within a margin of a single percentage point. That means the race is eligible for a recount under state law.

Good, who currently trails by more than 300 votes out of nearly 63,000 votes cast, said he will request a recount if the state election board certifies McGuire as the winner.

McGuire’s lead has actually increased slightly since Wednesday morning.

Good also told former Trump adviser and right-wing podcaster Steve Bannon on Monday that he would sue to block certification of the count in the city of Lynchburg, the largest city in the 5th Congressional District and a bastion of Good.

“Lynchburg is the big key. This cannot be certified. There’s no confidence in the Lynchburg results,” Good said.

Good and others claimed the city botched the vote count by accepting ballots placed in a drop box after election night.

In a statement Monday, the city registrar acknowledged a procedural error but said fewer than 10 ballots, if any, were affected.

The release from the registrar’s office said the drop box, located inside the registrar’s office, was emptied just before 1 p.m. on Election Day. But the ballot box was not emptied again until Friday June 21. Seven ballot papers were there.

The registrar’s statement said staff at the registrar’s office saw several legally cast ballots on the afternoon of Election Day, but did not see any ballots placed in the box afterward.

Those seven ballots have since been mixed with another batch of ballots, and the registrar said the counting was suspended while he consulted with the Virginia Department of Elections on what to do next.

The state Department of Elections did not respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

McGuire, who claimed victory on election night, released a statement Monday thanking Good for his service and suggesting that a recount or legal challenge would be unnecessary and divisive.

“While I understand the desire to continue the fight, the outcome of this election will not change,” he said.

Both Good and McGuire are among Republicans who have expressed concerns about election integrity following Trump’s false claims of voter fraud during his 2020 re-election defeat. Good was among more than 100 members of the House GOP who voted in January 2021 to object to the Electoral College count of states contested by Trump.

In a phone meeting with Trump on election eve last week, McGuire urged his supporters to give him a margin of victory “too big to rig.”

If Good loses, he would be the first House incumbent to lose a primary challenge this year, except for a race in which two incumbents…

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