Donald Trump

Va. Primary Sets Up Stewart v. Kaine, Wexton v. Comstock

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart — a devoted supporter of President Donald Trump — is projected to win  Virginia's Republican primary for U.S. Senate and promises a "vicious" campaign against U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine.

Democratic State Sen. Jennifer Wexton will challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock for Virginia's 10th congressional district. The district is key for the Democrats because Comstock is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress.

Primary voters picked their favorites to narrow the field of candidates in a GOP Senate contest and nine congressional races, some Democratic and some Republican.

Stewart Wins Republican Nomination for Senate

In the Republican Senate nomination contest, voters were choosing between three candidates vying to challenge incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine.

Stewart was challenged by Nick Freitas, a state delegate; and E.W. Jackson, a minister. All three Republican candidates struggled to raise serious money, and the winner will have a serious cash disadvantage against Kaine, who is expected to have about $25 million for this election.

"I think Freitas is going to have a better shot," Republican voter Tony Patrino said. "He's more level-headed."

Patrick Gordon, 70, a retired Defense Department administrator who lives in Glen Allen, said he voted for Freitas.

"Corey Stewart has run before and he didn't impress me," said Gordon, referring to Stewart's bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination last year.

Kaine, a former governor and vice presidential candidate, is seeking a second term.

Wexton to Challenge Comstock for House Seat

Among the U.S. House primaries, the most crowded was the Democratic contest for the 10th congressional district in northern Virginia.

Six Democrats were on the ballot. Wexton was endorsed by Gov. Ralph Northam. Former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover said she was the only candidate with federal legislative experience. Dan Helmer highlighted his military experience and his academic credentials as a Rhodes Scholar. Paul Pelletier cited his experience as a federal prosecutor handling health care and gun violence cases. Alison Friedman cited her experience at the State Department and in the private sector, fighting human trafficking. Julia Biggins cited her credentials as a scientist.

"Honestly, I had a preference for Jennifer Wexton because she has experience already with the legisative process, her position with NRA falls in line with mine and then having the support of the governor I think is important," Democratic voter Matt Kroetch said.

Kim Eppinstiner said she normally favors a female candidate but this time combat veteran Dan Helmer has impressed her.

"Both my husband and I voted for Dan Helmer," she said.

Comstock's challenger in the Republican primary was Air Force veteran Shak Hill.

Democrat Spanberger to Challenge Rep. Brat

Voters also cast ballots in the Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District, where former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger defeated Dan Ward, a farmer and former Marine. Spanberger will take on incumbent Republican Dave Brat in November.

Robert Monroe, 53, a video producer, said he voted for Spanberger because he believes she has a better chance of defeating Brat.

"To be honest with you, I voted for her because she is a woman," he said. "To defeat Dave Brat, I think we need to energize the voters, particularly the female voters. I think she will energize that voting bloc, which we need to defeat Dave Brat."

Williams to Challenge Rep. Wittman

Government contractor Vangie Williams defeated won the Democratic primary and will challenge Republican Rob Wittman for the House District 1 seat.

Williams was the only woman in the race, defeating Edwin Santana, a second generation Puerto Rican who is a Marine Corps officer, and John Suddarth, who owns a commercial real estate company and attended West Point.

Wittman was first elected in 2007.

Alexandria Mayor Silberberg Out

Alexandria Vice Mayor Justin Wilson defeated incumbent Mayor Allison Silberberg in the Democratic primary.

Because Alexandria is heavily Democratic, the Democratic primary usually decides the winner in November.

Silberberg was running for a second term. In the last mayoral election, then Vice Mayor Silberberg defeated Mayor Bill Euille in the primary and again in the general election, for which Euille ran a write-in campaign.

Low Voter Turnout

After days of heavy rains in the mid-Atlantic, sunny weather greeted voters on Tuesday.

In Fairfax County, where only part of the county has both a GOP and Democratic primary, fewer than 10 percent of voters had cast ballots by mid-afternoon, and Democrats cast ballots more than twice the Republican rate. Loudoun County also saw more Democratic ballots cast than Republican ballots.

Voters told News4 their views on President Donald Trump are a factor in how they are voting.

"I want to see a candidate that will support our president first and foremost and his agenda," Republican voter Debbie Desteuben said. "That really was most important to me."

"President Trump is a factor," Democratic voter Barbara Dean said. "That means I need to get out and vote at every opportunity because I think what he's doing is absolutely awful."

There were no reports of problems at polling places.

Not all congressional districts have primaries. Some incumbents don't face opponents, and in some cases the parties chose different methods of nominating their candidates.

Polls were open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters were required to bring a photo ID. Valid forms of identification include a driver's license, passport or student ID. A registered voter without an ID could cast a provisional ballot but would have to complete follow-up steps to ensure it's counted.

Anyone not already registered was not allowed to vote. Virginia doesn't allow same-day registration.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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