Good’s 5th District claims: Dispatch looks at multiple allegations

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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As it stands, U.S. Rep. Bob Good refuses to accept the results from the June 18 Republican primary for his 5th District seat. Currently, he’s losing that race by 374 votes, with all ballots counted.

In an email to supporters sent over the weekend, Good went into more detail about issues he alleged with the race. He pointed out fire alarms went off at three voting precincts on Primary Day, causing them to be temporarily shut down. The Dispatch confirmed that fire alarms were activated at the Crozet precinct in Albemarle County, the Patrick Henry High School in Hanover County and the Liberty University precinct in Lynchburg. 

“There were no fires at any of the precincts mentioned,” said Andrea Gaines. She serves as external affairs manager for the Virginia Department of Elections. “In each case, local election officials handled the situation with care, ensuring that voting equipment was secured and no voters were turned away.” 

Fire alarms in 5th District

Speaking with local and election officials, The Dispatch confirmed there was no fire at Crozet. When the incident happened, the precinct was evacuated for 20 minutes and when no fire was found, everyone was let back in. Good won Crozet with 65.1% of the vote, 166 to his challenger John McGuire’s 89. At Patrick Henry, there was also no fire. 

“When the precinct reopened 30 minutes later, 15 voters were waiting patiently in line to vote and no voters had been turned away,” Gaines said. 

McGuire won that precinct with 58.6% of the vote, 234 to 165. 

The Liberty University precinct is a unique one, because it’s for students who live on campus. But being this is June, there were very few at school and fewer who cast a ballot. The precinct records show only six voters the entire day. The precinct did shut down for a few minutes while election officials checked to see if there was a fire. But nobody was turned away. Good won there with 87% of the vote. 

Being that Good won two of the three precincts, often by overwhelming numbers,  the question remains as to what he’s hoping to find with an audit. According to Good, he just wants answers. 

In his email to supporters, Good argued that first, it was strange to see three precincts all have fire alarms pulled at roughly the same time. Second, what happened after the evacuation? 

“We don’t know what activity took place inside those polling places while everyone was evacuated,” Good wrote. 

Problems in Buckingham? 

Good also argued that he and his campaign were running into “strong resistance in another county, Buckingham, which has had previous corruption allegations regarding how the RINO Republican chair, who blatantly supports my opponent, has manipulated the registrar office.” 

For the record, those allegations involved a previous registrar. To date, there have been no allegations from Republicans or Democrats about the current Buckingham registrar, Ginger Chiesa. McGuire won in Buckingham, with 621 votes to Good’s 485. 

“The election data in (Buckingham) is a disaster, and they have been fighting our efforts to review and assess the results,” Good wrote in the email to supporters. He didn’t explain further what qualified as a ‘disaster’ when it comes to the data. 

When reached for comment about that allegation or the primary in general, Chiesa declined. 

“I have no comment on the ongoing election process,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Buckingham County’s Republican Committee chair, Ramona Christian, questioned what had changed, pointing out that before the primary season, Good had been supportive of her group,. She even has a text from Rep. Bob Good, voicing his encouragement. 

“While I understand losing your congressional seat is very difficult, lashing out with lies and innuendo at the hardworking and honest registrar, elections staff and electoral board of the county is not an honorable type of behavior expected of our congressman,” Christian said in an interview. “The Buckingham County Chair and committee emphatically deny the statements in his email.” 

Christian also pointed out while Good condemned her for ‘blatantly’ supporting McGuire, how is that any different from the 25 other Republican leaders in the 5th District who wrote a letter to former President Donald Trump, asking him to withdraw his support for McGuire and endorse Good instead? 

So what happens now in 5th District?

Now we wait and see. As of late Monday, no official challenges had been filed in the race. If that continues, things go as normal and the Virginia Board of Elections will certify the race on July 2. Then Good will have 10 days to call for a recount, which since he’s losing by more than 0.5% of the vote, he will have to pay for.