by Brandon Jarvis

As October arrives and political races across Virginia reach the homestretch of their campaign, Democrats continue to gain momentum in one of the toughest races for them to win – the 5th district (VA-05) House of Representatives seat.

The Republican candidate Bob Good is facing Dr. Cameron Webb, the Democrat looking to flip the seat that has been held by the GOP since 2010.

Good challenged one-term congressman Denver Riggleman (R) for the Republican nomination after he officiated a wedding in 2018 between two of his staffers that are gay. Good announced his candidacy against Riggleman shortly after the wedding.

Good easily beat Riggleman in a party convention back in June, making him the Republican nominee in VA-05 for the general election this November. The convention was run under circumspect circumstances taking place at Good’s church. Riggleman’s campaign tried to point fingers to foul play, but no evidence was ever produced to support the claims.

On Thursday, the political prediction team with the Crystal Ball from Larry Sabato and UVA’s Center for Politics changed their rating of the VA-05 race from lean-Republican to a toss-up.

“In VA-5, former Campbell County Supervisor Bob Good (R) beat Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) at a nominating convention, and now Republicans are concerned that Good is going to kick away the seat against Cameron Webb (D),” wrote The Center for Politics in their statement. “These are all Trump-won districts where Democrats nonetheless appear to be running strong challenges.”

Dr. Webb showed strong Democratic support when he received 66% of the vote in a four-way primary back in June. He has also vastly outraised Good, bringing in over $1 million more than the Republican candidate as of the last filing deadline.

Cook Political Report also recently changed their rating of this race to a toss-up. “Democrats have coalesced behind perhaps their most ideal House candidate anywhere: Cameron Webb, a telegenic 37-year-old physician who works at UVA’s School of Medicine,” said Dave Wasserman, House editor for Cook. “Meanwhile, GOP former Liberty University athletics official Bob Good (no relation to Virgil Goode) is still struggling to unite Republicans after defeating GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman at a June drive-through convention.”

The Democratic candidate in 2018, Leslie Cockburn, only lost to Riggleman by 6-points in a presidential off-year election. The convention, which was the source of a lot of argument within VA-05 Republicans created a riff and it is unclear if the whole party will come home to vote.

This has political analysts and prominent members of the Republican party within the district believing that Good is in trouble of losing.

“Folks might disagree with Webb, but it’s hard not to like him. That’s what put Perriello over the top in an improbable win in 2008,” said Shaun Kenney, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and current VA-05 resident. “Good has the problem of not just reaching out to nominal independents, but trying to heal the rift with Riggleman. In effect, that means Good has to run two campaigns while Webb simply has to run as himself in an environment where Democrats are running downhill.”

Related: The Bob Good campaign struggles to find momentum

With it being a presidential year, analysts have been adamant that the main issue in most voter’s minds will be at the top of the ticket. Virginia is no exception as the Commonwealth has made a huge shift to the left in the years since President Trump was elected. Democrats flipped nearly 20 seats in the House of Delegates taking the majority and they also barely won enough races in the senate to take control.

In addition, three Republican House of Representative seats flipped to the Democrats in 2018 when congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) defeated Republican incumbents and congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) filled the vacant seat formerly held by congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R).

With Trump at the top of the ticket, the blue wave is still present in Republican’s minds. “The great lesson might be that even the VA-05 isn’t immune to the demographic changes that have impacted the eastern part of Virginia,” said Kenney.

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By vascope