Georgia and Colorado have been getting a lot of attention for sending people who have spread lies and hate to the halls of Congress.
Virginia deserves a share of the limelight too.
Last summer, conservative Republicans in the state’s 5th congressional district — which stretches through the middle of the state from its southern border to the outskirts of the nation’s capital — ousted incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman after he officiated a gay wedding in the district. Instead, area Republicans chose as their nominee Bob Good, an evangelical Christian who is short on political experience (he’s served only one term on a county board of supervisors) but long on religious extremism.
“Folks in the district did not feel that [Riggleman] … was reflecting the majority conservative values in the district,” Good explained on a recent podcast.
By “values,” he was likely referring to LGBTQ bigotry, since Riggleman voted with Trump more than 90 percent of the time during his two years in office and was a member of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus. Riggleman even voted against the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the bases of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, but his ostensible support for love between two people of the same gender was apparently enough to disqualify him in the eyes of his party.
Good went on to defeat Democrat Cameron Webb last fall — and has been spreading lies and hate ever since. A few weeks after Election Day, he addressed Trump supporters at a rally in Washington, D.C., where he called the pandemic “phony” — though it has claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people in his district alone.
He has also doggedly pushed the “big lie” — the ex-president’s false claims of voter fraud that fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection against Congress in an attempt to undermine our democracy. That night, Good objected to efforts to certify the election results on the premise that states had “sufficient evidence of fraud.” A week later, he said Democrats were mounting a “phony” impeachment charge despite reams of video evidence in its support.
He reportedly campaigned on transphobia. He says “atheistic worldviews” taught in public school are anti-American and anti-family. He has called efforts to center U.S. history around slavery and the contributions of Black Americans “dangerous” to families and young people.
His short voting record is equally troubling.
In March, along with other Republicans, he voted against the $2 trillion relief package, which is reducing child poverty; providing financial relief to individuals, families, cities, and states; supporting struggling small businesses; and increasing access to vaccines and protective equipment.
Under the law, millions of Virginians are getting billions in direct payments and benefiting from expanded tax credits, according to Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who backed the bill. Virginia’s schools and students, cities and towns, transportation and transit hubs and others are also getting significant relief funds.
“Already, Virginians are seeing the benefits,” they said in a joint statement.
Good has also voted against other good legislation, such as bills that would make it easier for Americans to vote and clean up elections, strengthen background checks during gun purchases, address systemic racism in policing and ban discrimination against people based on their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. And he has criticized a proposed infrastructure package that Virginia Democrats say “would benefit Virginians in every corner of the commonwealth.”
He’s also joined the likes of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Florida and other arch-conservatives in opposing noncontroversial bills, earning a reputation as a member of the emerging “no caucus” on Capitol Hill.
To cite one example: Good was one of only a dozen members of the U.S. House who voted against a resolution in honor of U.S. Capitol Police officers during the Jan. 6 insurrection (despite his words of support for them at the time).
Then, as now, his words ring hollow. Good has served just a few months, but his record and his rhetoric show he’s no good for Virginia.