Primaries in N. Va. Tuesday, But How Many Know?

More Latino candidates for General Assembly than ever

By Julie Carey
|  Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011  |  Updated 7:34 AM EDT
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On Tuesday some residents of northern Virginia will go the polls in a rare August primary to decide candidates for General Assembly and local races.

Julie Carey

On Tuesday some residents of northern Virginia will go the polls in a rare August primary to decide candidates for General Assembly and local races.

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In northern Virginia, voters in some communities will head to the polls Tuesday for a rare August primary. They'll decide nominees in General Assembly and local races.

The redistricting process pushed the usual June primary back to late summer, creating a challenge for candidates. Are voters paying attention as volunteers go door-to-door to get out the vote in 14 Republican and Democratic primaries in northern Virginia?

“People are in sort of this vacation mode and trying to squeeze the last they can out of summer, and a lot of people are away in August in this region as well, so I think that has to have some real impact on the voter turnout and possibly the outcomes of some of these close races,” said political analyst Mark Rozell, of George Mason University.

Republicans control the Virginia House of Delegates, while Democrats cling to a two-seat advantage in the Virginia Senate. Growth in northern Virginia means a new seat in the Senate and three seats in the house are up for grabs.

“What happens here in northern Virginia could affect the overall power equation in Richmond coming next year.

This primary also is significant because there are more Latino candidates on the ballot than ever before in General Assembly races, and they are running for both Democratic and Republican nominations.

“There has been an explosion of the Latino community and of the Asian community in this region, and we’re seeing a lot more minority politicians getting involved in political campaigns and local races,” Rozell said.

Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada, one of the few Latinos in elective office in Virginia, said years of pushing to get Latinos more involved is starting to pay dividends.

“Some of us have been, for many years, planting the seeds,” he said.

Not all communities have primaries tomorrow, so you should check before you go to the polls.

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