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Analysis: Dr. Cameron Webb running strong in Fifth District race

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A new Global Strategy Group poll has Democrat Dr. Cameron Webb in a tight race with Republican Bob Good in the Fifth District.

The poll gives Good a narrow 44 percent-to-42 percent lead over Webb in the Fifth, which has voted Republican in each of the past five congressional cycles.

The seat is now technically open, with Good, a former member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors and former senior associate athletics director at Liberty University, having upset the current Fifth District congressman, Denver Riggleman, in the June GOP primary.

Webb, the director of health policy and equity at UVA’s School of Medicine, is seeking to become the first Democrat to win in the Fifth District since Tom Perriello won the congressional seat in 2008.

That cycle also featured a presidential race at the top of the ticket to provide tailwind for the Democrat, though a key difference between 2008 and 2020 is that Perriello was far, far behind in the polls really up until Election Day.

The internals to the GSG poll suggest the Webb-Good race could be tight all the way. Not only is Webb running well in the congressional race, Democrat Joe Biden is two points behind President Trump at the top of the slate – trailing 47 percent to 45 percent – in a district that gave Trump a 13-point majority over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Also in the internals: the 14 percent of voters undecided in the Webb-Good race view Trump less than favorably – 37 percent expressing a favorable view of the president, 51 percent expressing an unfavorable view.

That would suggest opportunity for Webb to build, but one other internal hints at the potential for volatility.

Neither candidate registers even 50 percent in familiarity – 45 percent said they were familiar with Webb, 49 percent said they were familiar with Good.

It might be tough to fight for oxygen in a presidential year, but it would seem that the race will come down to who is better able to define themselves to voters in the far-flung Fifth, which stretches from Central Virginia all the way down to the North Carolina border.

Story by Chris Graham