First Polls Close for Primaries in Virginia, Oklahoma, and Georgia

In Virginia, Freedom Caucus chair Bob Good looks to fend off a challenge by Trump-backed John McGuire in one of the most-watched primary contests this season.
First Polls Close for Primaries in Virginia, Oklahoma, and Georgia
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) (C) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill following a vote in Washington on April 19, 2024. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
Jackson Richman

Voters in Virginia, Oklahoma, and Georgia will head to the polls for primary and run-off elections on June 18 with the Old Dominion State being front and center.

In Virginia, voters in the Fifth Congressional District will decide between Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) and state Sen. John McGuire.

Mr. Good is the chairman of the staunchly conservative and influential House Freedom Caucus, while Mr. McGuire has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The battle is viewed as one of loyalty to the former president.

Mr. Good, who has held the seat since January 2021, has come under fire from some of former President Trump’s allies for endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential primary.

Mr. Good endorsed former President Donald Trump after Mr. DeSantis dropped out of the race.

He was one of eight Republicans to join Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House Speaker in October 2023.

If Mr. Good loses, he will be the first House incumbent to go down to a primary challenge this year, except in one race in which two incumbents faced off due to redistricting.

A Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition poll from last week shows Mr. McGuire and Mr. Good with 41 percent and 31 percent of the vote, respectively, though 29 percent are undecided.

In a statewide race, Virginia Republicans are competing for the chance to take on two-term Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

The candidates are Hung Cao, a Navy veteran who unsuccessfully ran in 2022 against Democrat Rep. Jennifer Wexton in the 10th Congressional District; Scott Parkinson, a former adviser to Mr. DeSantis and the vice president of government affairs at the right-wing fiscal advocacy group Club for Growth; constitutional attorney Jonathan Emord; Army veteran and former congressional aide Eddie Garcia; and Chuck Smith, who unsuccessfully ran in 2022 against Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott in the 3rd Congressional District.

Former President Trump has endorsed Mr. Cao in the race.

Other Virginia primary races to watch are in the 2nd Congressional District, where the Democrats looking to take on Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) are a Navy veteran and former small business owner Missy Cotter Smasal, and civil rights and constitutional law attorney Jake Denton.

Ms. Kiggans, a freshman congresswoman, won in 2022 over incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) with 51.63 percent of the vote.

The 7th Congressional District is a race to succeed Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who is running for governor of Virginia in 2025. She won the 2022 race with 52.2 percent of the vote.

The seven Democrat candidates include Prince William County Supervisors Andrea Bailey and Margaret Franklin; and Yevgeny Vindman—whose brother Alexander Vindman was a key witness in the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The six Republicans vying for the seat include attorney Derrick Anderson, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the district in 2022 and is endorsed by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.); and former Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton.

The race in the 10th Congressional District to succeed Ms. Wexton, who is retiring due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, consists of 12 Democrats and four Republicans.

Georgia Run-Offs

In Georgia, there are two runoffs even though the winners of the races have long-shot odds in the general election given the districts are heavily in favor of the opposing party.

One is in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) has represented since 1993.

The GOP runoff is between Chuck Hand, a construction superintendent who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, or Wayne Johnson, a former U.S. Department of Education official in the Trump administration.

Mr. Johnson placed first in the May 21 Republican primary with about 45 percent of the vote, short of the majority vote needed to avoid the June 18 runoff.

Mr. Hand received 32 percent of the vote.

The third-place candidate, Michael Nixon, received about 19 percent of the vote and held a press conference in late May endorsing Mr. Johnson, while offering a blistering rebuke against Mr. Hand.

In response, Mr. Hand walked off the stage in the middle of a televised June 9 debate with Mr. Johnson, whom he accused of orchestrating the attacks by Mr. Nixon.

The 2nd Congressional District is among the state’s Democrat enclaves.

Voters there supported Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the past two presidential elections with 54 percent and 55 percent of the vote, respectively.

Mr. Sanford won his 2022 reelection bid with 55 percent of the vote.

In the heavily GOP 14th Congressional District, Democrats seeking to take on incumbent Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) include Clarence Blalock, a former City of Smyrna employee and 2021 Atlanta City Council candidate, and Shawn Harris, a retired Army brigadier general and rancher.

Mr. Blalock edged Mr. Harris in the primary by just 128 votes out of more than 18,000 cast. Ms. Greene won reelection in 2022 with about 66 percent of the vote.

There is a third runoff in the Peach State as the GOP winner is all but guaranteed to win in November to succeed retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) given the 3rd Congressional District is heavily Republican.

The race is between former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan and former White House political director Brian Jack.

Mr. Jack has the endorsement of his former President Trump and was the top vote-getter in the May 21 primary with about 47 percent of the vote.

Mr. Dugan received about 25 percent of the vote, with the remainder split among three candidates.

The winner will face Democrat Maura Keller, an Army veteran. Mr. Ferguson won the seat in 2022 with about 69 percent of the vote.


Finally, in Oklahoma, while the congressional seats are solidly Republican, the race to watch will be the Republican primary in the state’s 4th Congressional District, where a deep-pocketed challenger is making a long-shot bid to unseat 10-term incumbent Tom Cole, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Businessman Paul Bondar, a political newcomer who sold an insurance group he founded, has spent almost $4.9 million, according to campaign finance filings, essentially all of it from his own pocket.
Though Mr. Bondar has criticized his votes supporting foreign aid, Mr. Cole has shored up his conservative bona fides with an endorsement from former President Trump.

Mr. Bondar has also faced questions about his residency. He most recently lived in Texas, even voting in that state’s Republican primary in March—a focal point of Mr. Cole’s attacks against him.

While Mr. Bondar’s well-funded campaign could cause problems for Mr. Cole, it is the Oklahoma runoff threshold—plus the three candidates on the ballot besides Mr. Bondar and Mr. Cole—that presents a more pressing issue.

If Mr. Cole’s four opponents keep him at under 50 percent of the vote, he and the next-highest vote-getter will advance to an August runoff.

In the Tulsa-based 1st Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) will compete against Paul Royse.

Mr. Royse has not filed campaign finance disclosures with the Federal Election Commission.

On the Democrat side, either Evelyn Rogers, who has sought this seat as an independent in the past two general elections, or former FBI agent Dennis Baker will face Mr. Hern in November.

Mr. Baker has reported almost $91,000 raised compared to Mr. Rogers’ $1,300.

And in the 3rd District, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the longest-tenured incumbent in the House delegation, has two challengers, neither of whom reported raising more than $20,000 this cycle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.