During Tuesday’s primary elections, there were only five primaries Virginians could vote in to determine who would be on the ballot in November.
It’s Primary Day in Virginia, and there are only five primaries occurring in the entire commonwealth. There are four Republican primaries occurring, as well as one Democratic primary. Elections are ongoing in the following districts: VA-02, VA-03, VA-06, VA-07, and VA-08.
Why only five? In some localities, a convention was held instead of a primary. In other localities, only one person made the ballot, advancing to be their respective party’s candidate in the upcoming November election.
Today, out of the five races, there are two races to keep eyes on because of their national potential to shape the political landscape come November: VA-02 and VA-07. The second and seventh districts, respectively, are currently held by Democrats Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger. They will be on November’s ballot, but their potential opponent will be chosen via today’s primary election.
In both of those races, there’s a long list of Republican candidates vying for the GOP nomination with ten total candidates. In VA-02, out of the four candidates, Jen Kiggans has come out on top as the potential frontrunner in the race and will most likely be up against Luria. Jarome Bell, a right wing extremist candidate who has called himself the “MAGA Candidate,” and has touted endorsements from people closely associated with former President Donald Trump is also in the running. Tommy Altman, a veteran and tattoo artist, and Andy Baan, a former prosecutor, are also on the ballot.
In the Seventh District, there are six candidates on the ballot: Bryce Reeves, Yesli Vega, Derrick Anderson, David Ross, Crystal Vanuch, and Gina Ciarcia. Reeves is of the most well-known contenders in this race, because he previously ran for Lieutenant Governor, and he currently serves in Virginia’s Senate. Yesli Vega doesn’t live in the district she would be representing, and has also said that Abigail Spanberger is the “worst kind of politician,” despite the current representative being named “most bipartisan.” She also recently earned an endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz, who was in Virginia on Monday helping her campaign. Anderson is seen as an underdog, and is a military veteran, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the weekend, Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw created a Twitter thread discussing why Anderson is “one of our best chances to flip a blue seat.”
Vanuch currently serves as the Chair on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, while Ross is on the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors, and Ciarcia is a military wife and former teacher.
In VA-03, Ted Enquist is up against Terry Namkung for the GOP nomination, while in VA-06, incumbent Ben Cline is up against Merrit Hale for the GOP nomination. The only Democratic primary being held in Virginia today is in VA-08, which has incumbent Don Beyer up against Victoria Virasingh.
Conventions and Firehouse Primaries
In VA-05, in lieu of a primary, the GOP opted to host a convention to pick the candidate; this is the same way the GOP chose a gubernatorial candidate for the 2021 election. This year’s convention was held in Farmville, with incumbent Bob Good claiming the win for the GOP. Good’s opponent, Dan Moy, is the chairman of the Charlottesville Republican Committee, who has also criticized Good’s leadership for the 5th District. In November, Good will be facing off against newcomer Josh Throneburg, who became the Democratic candidate after Andy Parker failed to make the ballot.
This year’s convention featured nearly 2,000 Republicans voting, representing roughly 0.2% of eligible voters in the 5th District. The voters who were in attendance were required to apply to become voting delegates, who would then attend the convention to vote in person. Conventions differ from primaries only because a smaller, select group of people vote, while all registered voters can vote in a primary.
There was a large group of contenders for VA-10, where newcomer Hung Cao, a Navy veteran and Vietnamese refugee, won the nomination. Come November, Cao will be up against Rep. Jennifer Wexton, in a district that has voted blue for many years. In the firehouse primary that was used to choose a candidate, ranked-choice voting was used. In ranked-choice voting, voters ranked the 11 candidates who were running for the GOP nomination in order of preference. There were nine total rounds of voting, where Cao was victorious with 52.8% of the vote.
VA-11 was another district where the GOP candidate was chosen by ranked-choice voting. In that race, Jim Myles was selected as the winner. Come November, he will be up against incumbent Democrat Gerald Connolly.
The polls for today’s primary close at 7 p.m., and once you are in line to vote, you can remain in line to vote, as long as you get in line before polls close.
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