Saturday, June 15, 2024

Early Voting Begins for Virginia’s June Congressional Primaries

“I Voted” stickers are displayed at a Richmond polling place during the 2022 midterm elections. (Graham Moomaw/Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND — Virginia’s 45-day early voting window began Friday for the June 18 primaries that will set the stage for the state’s U.S. Senate race as well as a handful of competitive races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans are choosing a nominee to challenge U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. in a statewide contest this fall, and at least one party is holding a primary in six of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.

In-person early voting is underway at all local voter registrar offices, and many localities also offer satellite early voting sites. Would-be voters can find details on their local election office on the Virginia Department of Elections website, which also offers an online citizen portal allowing voters to check their registration status, register to vote, find out which congressional district they’re in and apply for an absentee ballot to be sent through the mail. The deadline to request a mail absentee ballot is June 7.

Voters casting ballots in person will need to present an acceptable form of identification, but anyone lacking an ID will still be able to cast a provisional ballot that will only be counted if elections officials verify their eligibility later.

In districts with both a Republican and Democratic congressional primary, voters will be asked to choose a ballot for one party.

Kaine is considered a strong frontrunner in the Senate race. Virginia has voted Democratic in every presidential election year since 2008, and the five Republicans vying to compete against him in November aren’t particularly well-known.

The GOP Senate field includes former congressional candidate and U.S. Navy veteran Hung Cao, U.S. Army veteran Eddie Garcie, attorneys Jonathan Emord and Chuck Smith and Scott Parkinson, who works for the conservative economic group Club for Growth.

More competition is anticipated in the U.S. House races, particularly in the Hampton Roads-based 2nd District and two Northern Virginia seats coming open in the 7th and 10th House Districts. A closely watched Republican primary is also playing out in the 5th District, which leans Republican and stretches through the central part of the state.

7th District

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger — a Democrat who currently represents the 7th District anchored in Prince William County and the Fredericksburg area — isn’t running for election this year because she’s running for governor in 2025.

Seven Democrats and six Republicans are competing in their respective primaries for the 7th District seat.

The top fundraisers in the Democratic race are retired Army colonel Eugene Vindman, Del. Brianna Sewell, former Del. Elizabeth Guzman and Prince William Supervisors Margaret Angela and Andrea Bailey. Vindman — the brother of whistleblower Alex Vindman who called attention to a controversial 2019 phone call former President Donald Trump made urging Ukrainian officials to investigate President Joe Biden — has raised more than $3.7 million for his campaign, giving him a substantial money advantage over rivals that have more experience in Virginia politics.

The most well-funded Republican candidates are Army veteran Derrick Anderson, who previously ran for the seat in 2022, and former Navy SEAL Cameron Hamilton.

10th District

A dozen Democratic candidates are competing for the opportunity to replace U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Loudoun, who announced she won’t run for reelection after being diagnosed with a severe form of Parkinson’s Disease.

Several big names in Democratic politics are in the running for the Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia seat, including former House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Del. Dan Helmer, Sen. Suhas Subramanyam, Del. David Reid and former Virginia education secretary Atif Qarni.

Running on the Republican side are attorney and technology executive Mike Clancy, Marine Corps veteran and former Youngkin administration official Aliscia Andrews, retired military officer Alex Isaac and defense contractor Manga Anantatmula.

2nd District

U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, is a top target for Democrats after narrowly flipping the 2nd District in 2022 by defeating former congresswoman Elaine Luria.

Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal, a Navy veteran and business owner, is being backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to take on Kiggans, but she’s facing primary competition from civil rights and constitutional law attorney Jake Denton.

5th District

U.S. Rep Bob Good, R-Campbell, who chairs the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, is being challenged from the right by state Sen. John McGuire, R-Goochland, in a hard-fought GOP primary where both candidates are angling for support from the Trump wing of the party.

Good has drawn criticism from McGuire over his decision to endorse Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president instead of Trump, but Good’s campaign has returned fire by calling McGuire a political opportunist who’s constantly seeking higher office.

The winner of the GOP primary would be the frontrunner in a Republican-leaning district that runs from the Charlottesville area to the outskirts of Richmond and includes the cities of Lynchburg and Danville.

Three Democrats — Gloria Tinsley Witt, Paul Riley and Gary Terry — are also competing in a 5th District primary.

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Samantha Willis for questions: info@virginiamercury.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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