While election officials have expressed that final results would not be clear on Election Day, Virginia’s 5th Congressional District candidates expressed otherwise.
After 11 p.m., when registrars finished work for the day, Republican Bob Good took a lead with 53% of the vote and 328 precincts of 330 reporting in. Though remaining absentee ballots have until noon Friday to be received, the margins were far enough that Democrat Dr. Cameron Webb’s campaign conceded the race after midnight.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, it has truly been an honor to run to represent this district in Congress. This campaign has been a battle of ideas about how to best serve the people of our district and I cannot give enough thanks to everyone who made it possible,” said Dr. Cameron Webb. “Congratulations to Mr. Good for his victory and I look forward to continuing to engage with him as we move forward from the election in a unified way.”
Webb, director of health policy and equity at University of Virginia spent his campaign reaching out to voters throughout the New Jersey-sized district as a “consensus builder.” Touting his experience in a White House fellowship spanning parts of both the Obama and Trump administrations, Webb hoped to transcend party lines to address healthcare costs, economic development and opportunity as well as to work on environmental policy.
Ahead of midnight, Good spent more than 30 minutes thanking campaign staff, volunteers and supporters while reiterating his faith-based campaign as a “bright red, Biblical conservative” and criticizing political pundits.
Throughout the race various reports and polling have indicated close margins between the candidates, with Cook Political Report and University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both labeling the 5th District as a “toss up.” However, as of Nov. 2, the Crystal Ball moved its label back to “leans Republican.”
Polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight has included the race among its forecast of the most competitive congressional races in the country — with the 5th District recently holding the top spot.
Charlottesville Tomorrow also recently examined how the candidates themselves along with the shape, size, and demographics of the district contribute to its politically purple nature.
“It’s really a toss-up, but as a service to our readers, we lean all the toss-ups at the end,” Crystal Ball Managing Editor Kyle Kondik said in an email earlier in the day. “Basically, I think Webb is the better candidate, but the district is clearly right of center. That to me gives Good a slightly better chance to win.”
Meanwhile, during Good’s speech he stated that his campaign and voters were “united by conservative principles.”
“I get asked this question a lot — ‘hey you call yourself a Biblical conservative; how can you represent people who maybe don’t agree with you on everything?'” Good said. “I think people respect someone who has integrity, somebody who stands on principle, someone who stands on trust.”
An audience member shouted “and someone who will tell you where they stand on something” to which Good repeated, adding “and will take positions.”
On priorities when he takes his seat in Congress, Good plans to push a “Life at Conception Act,” reform immigration and bolster fiscal conservatism in federal government.
The crowd of more than 100 people was unmasked, save for reporters in attendance, and social distancing was not followed by Good or his supporters. When asked what Good sees as safely reopening the economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — something he expressed support of in his campaign — he stressed the economy can safely be open.
“I’ve been in the camp of safely reopening the economy, getting our kids back to school,” Good said. “I believe that learning is essential. I believe that our teachers are essential, our kids are essential. I think it’s critically evident the impact on our kids to not be in school socially, academically, developmentally and many other ways.”
Good cited the information concerning the coronavirus that has emerged since the declaration of a pandemic and noted President Donald Trump’s administration’s statements that vaccines are “around the corner.”
“We’ve learned who is at higher risk and what precautions need to be taken, but I also believe in Constitutional freedom and I also believe in individual liberty,” he said as members of the crowd agreed.
Echoing a Trump talking point, Good said “that while infections are up, because we’re testing some seven million a week now, thank the Lord, the death rate is going way down.
As his time on the podium neared a close, Good called his win a victory for Constitutional rights, the Second Amendment, free market capitalism and fiscal responsibility.
“It’s a victory for President Trump,” he added, to which the room cheered.
I was Charlottesville Tomorrow’s government reporter from 2019 to 2022. Thanks for letting me be your resident nerd on how local and state governments serve us. Keep up with me @charlottewords on Twitter. If you haven’t yet, consider subscribing to Charlottesville Tomorrow’s FREE newsletter to get updates from the newsroom on the things you want to know.