by Brandon Jarvis

State Sen. John McGuire (R-Goochland) missed a committee meeting Monday morning after attending campaign events in Iowa this weekend with former President Donald Trump. He is running a primary campaign against Rep. Bob Good (R-VA05) in Virginia’s fifth congressional district.

“It was a huge honor to speak with President Donald J. Trump ‘Big Don’ in Iowa and help his campaign to Save America,” McGuire posted on Facebook Sunday night with a picture of him and Trump. “Trump is going to win ‘bigly!’ The best thing for Virginia and the USA is to get Trump reelected and end these anti-American extremist Biden policies that are destroying our country.”

Republicans are meeting Monday night in Iowa for a caucus to choose their presidential nominee. 

McGuire was not present to vote on legislation in the Local Government committee meeting Monday morning. He also missed the Courts of Justice committee meeting, where he is not a member, but two of his bills were on the docket. Both pieces of legislation were rescheduled for another day because he was not present to introduce them. 

He arrived back at the Virginia Capitol sometime in the early afternoon — he posted a selfie from the Senate floor at 12:57 p.m. 

Jim Herring, the vice-chair of the fifth district Republican committee, criticized McGuire for missing part of the fourth day of session. 

“First week on the job for my new State Senator and… he’s not there,” Herring said in a Facebook post. “Before his election was even certified, he announced he’s running for another office. This past Saturday, he was absent from a 5th District Republican Committee meeting with leadership from all 24 localities he is running to represent!”

Herring, a Good supporter, acknowledged during a phone call that while Republicans are in the minority on Senate committees and cannot stop Democratic legislation from advancing, it still matters to have representation and a voice for the constituents. 

“It made a difference to me. I was not represented today during those votes,” Herring said. “We elect representatives; that’s what our republic is about – representative government, and if you’re not there, you’re not representing us. I devote a lot of time to these candidates and these issues, and when they refuse to devote time to me. I take it personal.”

A spokesperson for McGuire’s campaign, Sean Brown, pushed back on the story, saying it is unfair to report that the senator was in Iowa instead of being present for his committee assignment. “Write whatever you want. No one reads it anyway,” Brown said.

The Good campaign declined to provide a comment for this story.

McGuire faced backlash from Republicans in November when he announced his congressional campaign a week after winning his state Senate election. 

Shortly after his announcement, the Goochland County Republican Committee sent him a ‘No Confidence Resolution.’ “It has become evident that John McGuire’s convention race was characterized by his personal ambitions and not by a desire to improve the welfare of the people he was elected to represent,” the resolution reads. “John McGuire has failed to honor his commitment and has broken his promise, thereby undermining the trust placed in him by the electorate.”

McGuire is running as the ‘MAGA’ candidate – using Good’s endorsement of presidential candidate Ron Desantis as a lane to primary him from the right. However, that might be the only way to run to the right of Good as he was just elected chair of the highly-conservative Freedom Caucus. 

Good is one of the few Republicans responsible for overthrowing former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which left the House in chaos for a month with no leader. He was first elected to Congress in 2020 by successfully primarying former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) after he officiated a gay wedding between two of his staffers.

McGuire has run for Congress previously, and he lost to Del. Nick Freitas in 2020 during the VA-07 nomination convention.

He attempted to run for the nomination again in 2022, but the redistricting process altered the boundaries, moving him out of VA-07. 

VA-05 is a Republican district that will likely always be out of reach for Democrats in the general election. Good defeated the Democratic nominee, Josh Throneburg, by 15 points in 2022.

By vascope