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Bob Good

Austin Scott gets Good’s goat

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.) privately objected to Speaker Mike Johnson appointing Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) to an open slot on the House Rules Committee.

Multiple Republican sources told us that Good was fuming behind the scenes that Scott — who has endorsed Good’s primary challenger — was selected to serve on the powerful panel. The Rules Committee seat came open following Rep. Tom Cole’s (R-Okla.) ascension to chair of the Appropriations Committee. Cole succeeded Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who is retiring at the end of the year.

This latest beef between Good and Scott is another example of the personal rivalries and dramas that have dominated the House GOP Conference throughout this Congress. It played out most spectacularly of course, during the bitter fight over ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy last fall, as well as the drawn-out scramble to succeed him.

It’s also playing out on the campaign trail. Good was one of the eight Republicans who voted to dump McCarthy. In turn, Scott has backed John McGuire, a Virginia state senator and former Navy SEAL who is primarying Good. Reps. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) — two other former Navy SEALs, are all also supporting McGuire, as well as House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.).

Good downplayed Scott’s support for McGuire. Scott has attended campaign events with McGuire and also donated money to his campaign.

“Austin Scott — nobody in my district knows who he is or cares who he endorses or doesn’t endorse. So that’s of no concern,” Good told us when asked about his objection to the Georgia Republican serving on Rules.

We reported back in January that Scott was also one of the earliest members to donate to McGuire’s campaign.

For his part, Scott told us that he was appointed by Johnson to Rules and it had nothing to do with Good.

“It’s not about him,” Scott insisted. “The speaker asked me to serve on the committee and I’m going to serve on the committee and I’m going to do my job. I expect that I’ll vote the majority of the time in the way he’d be happy with.”

It’s also true that HFC members have played around in other Republican primaries, backing conservatives over more moderate or centrist GOP lawmakers.

And Good committed the most serious Republican sin of all — he backed someone other than Donald Trump during the GOP presidential campaign. Good endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and some in the Trump camp have vowed revenge. Good is now backing Trump.

Scott, though, has been vocally critical of the Freedom Caucus in recent months.

It’s worth remembering the Georgia Republican ran a short-lived campaign for speaker against House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) last year, in part due to frustration over conservatives’ controlling the House GOP agenda.

— Mica Soellner and Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.