RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s 5th Congressional District race pits Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) against Democratic challenger Josh Throneburg.
Good won his seat two years ago and is seeking another term in Congress, but this time he’s running in a newly-configured 5th District.
Throneburg, an ordained minister, seeks to flip the district blue in his first run for office. He became the Democratic nominee in the race after Andy Parker didn’t submit the required number of signatures to qualify for the primary.
8News spoke with Good and Throneburg to learn more about their platforms, the top issues voters have shared with them on the campaign trail and what they’re focusing on as Election Day inches closer.
A closer look at Virginia’s new 5th District
Virginia’s political lines changed in late 2021 with redistricting, shifting voters into new congressional and state legislative districts.
Virginia’s new 5th Congressional District is still made up of rural counties but kept the city of Charlottesville, a Democratic stronghold. The district now includes Goochland, Amelia, the city of Lynchburg and parts of Hanover County.
An analysis from the Virginia Public Access Project shows a district that strongly favors Republicans.
- Localities added to the new 5th District: The city of Lynchburg and the counties of Louisa, Amherst, Powhatan, Goochland, Nottoway, Amelia, and a part of Hanover County
- Localities no longer in the 5th District: The counties of Brunswick, Fauquier, Franklin, Greene, Henry, Madison and Rappahannock
On the issues
Top issues for voters
8News asked Rep. Good and Throneburg which issues people in the district are talking about the most, both saying concerns about the economy are top priorities for voters.
“One of the things that I hear from everybody is the rising prices of so many daily essentials, gas and groceries and all of that,” Throneburg said in an interview. “The rising prices that are hitting people’s pocketbooks is something we hear a lot.”
Throneburg added that he’s heard voters bring up affordable housing in the district and wanting less divisiveness in politics, saying the issues “seem to crossover the political divide.”
Good said voters have expressed frustrations about the cost of gas, groceries, housing and other essentials. He added that they have also shared concerns over crime, the border and higher interest rates, with Good pointing to policies from President Joe Biden and Democrats.
“They [voters] are very concerned about the direction of our country,” he told 8News. “They’re very concerned about the terrible harm that’s been brought to the country over the last two years under Democratic control.”
High inflation, rising interest rates and fears over a possible recession have made the economy a leading issue in this year’s midterms.
Good called out Biden’s efforts to get the U.S. away from utilizing fossil fuels and seeking other energy sources, saying the American people are “paying the price now” and are concerned about how much heating their homes will cost this winter.
The Republican congressman pointed to the deficit, telling 8News it has led to high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.
If elected, Throneburg says he would like to focus on investments for rural communities like the ones in the 5th District. Throneburg told 8News he wants broadband to be treated “as a public utility that is guaranteed to every home and business in this country.”
“I want to make sure those rural communities also have access to good quality education and good quality health care,” he told 8News. “Making sure that our rural spaces get reinvested in after a long time where they’ve kind of been ignored I think is a definite priority for me.”
Throneburg said Good has “accomplished nothing and if he has accomplished anything it’s further dividing us.” He told 8News that Good has not brought any money or project to the district, criticism that Good said shows a lack of “how the federal government works” and doesn’t acknowledge that Democrats control the House.
“When he talks about bringing back money to the district,” Good said. “That is not the proper role of the federal government and that is not the proper role of a conservative who believes in limited government, low taxes and empowering the states and the localities versus go home and go to Washington and see how much spending you can bring back to your district, which is the most inefficient way to spend the taxpayers’ dollars.”
Rep. Good has been clear that he is anti-abortion “without exception” and will always back legislation that “protects all life in the womb.”
“I ran as a pro-life candidate. I ran as being life at conception,” Good told 8News. He added that he believes the younger generation, “the college and high school kids,” are more anti-abortion than other generations.
Throneburg has been vocal about his issues with Good’s stances on abortion and same-sex marriage, telling 8News that the congressman applies his faith “to one particular community” and legislates based on his beliefs.
“I’m someone who supports same-sex marriage. I’m someone who believes that a woman who’s pregnant should make the decisions about her pregnancy,” Throneburg said. “I am a pastor and I’m a Christian pastor but I’m not going to legislate based on the specifics of my biblical text. That’s not how the founders designed this country to legislate by one particular faith tradition and so I think that’s inappropriate.”
Who is winning the money race?
U.S. Federal Election Commission records show that Rep. Good has brought in just over $1 million and Throneburg has raised a little over $720,000.
According to the records, Good’s campaign has spent $793,506.34 and Thronesburg’s has used $565,145.23.
Good has used much of his campaign funds to pay for printing for advertising, consulting and food. Throneburg’s campaign has also spent a good chunk of his political donations on printing for advertising and food but has also spent much of it on payroll.
Early voting in Virginia started in September and runs until Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8.