Rep. Bob Good, DeSantis backer, elected new Freedom Caucus chair

WASHINGTON — Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., has been elected the new chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, the group of far-right rabble-rousers who frequently clash with GOP leadership, a lawmaker confirmed.

The closed-door election took place Monday night. The Freedom Caucus traditionally has been aligned with former President Donald Trump. But in May, Good endorsed Ron DeSantis over GOP front-runner Trump, saying that as Florida governor, DeSantis had demonstrated “strength in the face of adversity” and delivered “effective results for every man, woman and child.”

DeSantis, a former House member, had been one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Good’s selection underscores the group’s independent streak, especially in a political environment where Republicans are reluctant to break with the mercurial Trump.

Good was also one of the eight GOP lawmakers who teamed up with Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from the speaker’s office in October.

“It is my privilege and honor to serve as the next House Freedom Caucus chairman,” Good said in a statement, saying he’ll focus on “continuing the fight to reduce government spending, secure our borders, and defend our constitutional freedoms.”

Good, who ran unopposed and was recommended by the Freedom Caucus’ board, will replace current Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., in January. Others who have served in the top job for the group include the founding chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who went on to become Trump’s White House chief of staff.

The group of more than three dozen conservatives has created massive headaches for GOP leaders. Shortly after its inception in 2015, it was credited with forcing then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, into an early retirement and then blocked McCarthy from succeeding Boehner that year as speaker.

Its members also clashed with then-Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and later tormented McCarthy before overthrowing him in early October.

Still, the group has also had growing pains. This past summer, amid the Freedom Caucus’ clashes with McCarthy, members ousted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a staunch Trump loyalist and McCarthy ally, from the group, citing her attacks on fellow Freedom Caucus members. Specifically, Greene had an expletive-laced public confrontation with Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., on the House floor.

Good did face some minimal opposition. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a member of the group’s board, sent a letter to colleagues before the election raising concerns about Good’s political tactics and urging the group to pick someone else, according to Axios.

“I am concerned that our group often relies too much on power (available primarily due to the narrow majority) and too little on influence with and among our colleagues,” Davidson wrote.

“I ask that we consider how to best increase our influence while preserving our power to move policy in the right direction. I strongly feel that Bob Good as Chairman will impair that objective.”

But most members ignored Davidson’s warnings and elected Good.

“He’s a good debater. He would do a good job,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., said of Good before the vote. Norman added that any member had an opportunity to run against Good.

“That’s the democratic process, that’s fine. Let people in, let our people decide.”