He railed against “socialism,” protesters he characterized as violent and a “government takeover” of health care, promising to be tough on immigration, to oppose tax hikes and “extreme” climate change proposals, and to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (though he says he wants to protect those with preexisting conditions).
“This was a victory for true conservative principles at the end of the day,” Good said at his victory party Tuesday night at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college in Lynchburg that he attended. “This will be a victory for the nation’s founding Judeo-Christian principles. And this will be a victory for religious liberty, and the importance of faith and family.”
Good grew up in the Lynchburg area as the second of four brothers. He says his family’s brushes with poverty “shaped me all of my life.”
“I knew what it was like to be in the free lunch line at school, or to walk a mile down the street to the grocery store because we didn’t have a car, and to buy groceries with food stamps,” Good said in September, during his only candidates forum with Webb.
He attended a private Christian high school with financial assistance and, after winning a state wrestling championship, earned a partial wrestling scholarship to Liberty University, where he held his victory party Tuesday night.
Good — a former wrestling coach who wrestled his son in one campaign ad about putting liberal ideas “in a headlock” — studied finance and leadership before spending 17 years working for CitiFinancial. He most recently worked at Liberty University, raising money to help students get athletic scholarships, and spent three years as a Campbell County board supervisor.
There, he frequently crusaded against social issues: voting in the majority to condemn the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, to urge the General Assembly to pass a law restricting transgender bathroom use and to make Campbell County a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
He also showed relentless opposition to raising taxes, at one point voting to garnish wages from county residents who had outstanding ambulance bills and to hike ambulance fees, rather than raise taxes to cover the cost of EMS services.
Richard Yarmoush, who voted early last week in Albermarle County, said Good’s staunch fiscal conservatism was what gained his support.
“That’s my biggest thing,” Yarmoush said. “Charlottesville has been starting to get higher in taxes since I’ve lived here.”
Tom Joyce, a 55-year-old retired voter from Crozet, said he supports leaders like Trump and Good because he believes they are focused on opening businesses and schools rather than shutting them down. Deborah Mak, 62, said she was drawn to Good’s support for gun ownership as Virginia Democrats are enacting gun-control restrictions on the state level.
“The Second Amendment is very important to us. I don’t want that going down the tubes,” she said Tuesday at a polling place in Warrenton. “Virginia is trying to turn things not the way I think is conservative.”
Good raised far less money for his campaign than did Webb, who energized Democratic voters with his experience as a doctor treating coronavirus patients and a platform that emphasized addressing racial disparities.
But Webb could not overcome the “conservative DNA” of the sprawling 5th District, as one analyst described it. The district is larger than New Jersey, stretching from the North Carolina border through Charlottesville and all the way up to Warrenton.
During the campaign, Good struck a tough-on-crime tone, criticizing Webb, who is Black, for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and trying to link Democrats with violence at protests. He framed the stakes of the election in dire, dramatic terms.
“This is an election to determine: Do we believe America is good or is America bad?” he said at a rally in late October. “Do we want to preserve and fight for the things that have made this the greatest nation in the world . . . or do we believe America is an illegitimate, evil nation, a racist nation that needs to be torn down and remade in a socialist, Marxist image?”
He said he would prioritize protecting the president’s policies on “energy independence” to keep gas prices low, market-driven reforms to make health care more affordable, school choice and immigration reform.
Good is an immigration hard-liner, supporting Trump’s border wall and saying undocumented immigrants should not have access to public education, taxpayer-funded health care or welfare.
“I believe in a merit-based immigration policy that puts American workers first,” he said in an interview.
Good also is a face-mask skeptic. He railed against business closures during the coronavirus pandemic, pushing for schools to reopen quickly. He said that while he supports additional economic relief for struggling businesses, he would have opposed the Cares Act because he believed it incentivized unemployment and was not properly tailored to needs.
Good will be him the sixth person to represent Virginia’s 5th Congressional District in the past 12 years. The district has seen an unusual number of single-term representatives, including Riggleman.