(The Center Square) – In an election with no incumbent, Republican candidate Bob Good is trying to keep Virginia's Republican-leaning 5th Congressional District red, but some analysts are predicting a competitive challenge to flip the district blue from Democratic candidate Cameron Webb.
Good won his Republican nomination by running to the right of incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman and defeating him in a primary challenge. Riggleman had broken from hardline conservatives on immigration, health care and other issues and faced controversy from social conservatives after officiating a gay wedding.
With the exception of one two-year term from 2009-2011, the district has held consistently Republican since 2002, but Democrats have been allocating resources into the race, hoping to break the trend. Riggleman won the seat in 2018, 53% to 47%.
Good served on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors from 2015-2019 and is a supporter of President Donald Trump. Webb served as a White House fellow under Trump and former President Barack Obama and as the director of health policy and equity at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine.
Taxes and Economy
Good has campaigned as a fiscal conservative and called for expanding tax cuts for individuals and businesses that were in the Trump-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. He also supports a balanced budget amendment and will not support spending bills that do not address the national debt.
If he wins the election, Good has said he will support deregulation, right-to-work policies and promote energy independence. He said he supports the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement because he believes it prioritizes American workers, farmers and businesses.
Taking an alternative approach, Webb has campaigned on closing income inequality gaps by raising the tax rate on top earners, increasing the capital gains tax and closing tax loopholes for corporations.
Webb also supports efforts to more than double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, which he says will ensure workers will share in the benefits of economic growth.
Both candidates support additional funding for rural broadband infrastructure.
Good supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He supports a free-market approach to health care, which includes enabling competition by allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines and reforming certificate of need laws, which limit the expansion of medical facilities based on a judge’s determination on whether the community needs it. He also supports defunding Planned Parenthood.
As a doctor, Webb has made the expansion of affordable health care one of his top priorities. He has said the Affordable Care Act is a good start to health care, but he would go further with more health care investments in rural, low-income and underserved communities. He supports legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs, establishing a public option, integrating public and private financing options and restoring funds for reproductive health services, such as Planned Parenthood.
Good’s campaign has focused on law and order in response to the civil unrest over police brutality in recent months, opposing the elimination of mandatory minimums for violent criminals, opposing any efforts to scale back qualified immunity protections for police and supporting more federal funds for police.
Webb supports building on the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and phasing out detention centers and private prisons for federal prisons. He also supports legalizing marijuana and ending the cash bail system.
If elected, Webb said he would support integrating former offenders back into society by supporting a ban-the-box law that would make it easier for them to be hired by federal agencies and contractors. He also supports eliminating restrictions on housing and occupational licensing that prevent former drug offenders from being approved.
Election day is Nov. 3, but early voting has begun in Virginia.