Saturday, July 20, 2024

Subramanyam, Vindman Win Democratic Primaries to Succeed Wexton, Spanberger

(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND — State Sen. Suhas Subramanyam and military officer Eugene Vindman were the victors in two closely watched Democratic primaries Tuesday in two competitive Northern Virginia districts.

But the most high-profile contest in Virginia — the intra-GOP brawl between incumbent Rep. Bob Good and state Sen. John McGuire — was too close to call as of 10 p.m Tuesday evening, three hours after the polls closed.

As Navy veteran Hung Cao won a lopsided victory in a Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November, several competitive House of Representatives districts saw hard-fought battles for both parties.

Here are the primary results so far:

10th District: Subramanyam prevails 

Subramanyam, D-Loudoun, bested 11 other Democratic candidates to win the party’s nomination in the blue-leaning but competitive 10th District based in Northern Virginia.

Subramanyam, a lawyer and former White House technology advisor in the Obama administration, has served in the Virginia General Assembly since 2020. He was endorsed for the 10th District seat by incumbent Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Loudoun, who is stepping down from public service after being diagnosed with a severe neurological disorder.

The runner-up in the Democratic contest was Del. Dan Helmer, D-Fairfax. Former Virginia Education Secretary Atif Qarni finished in third place, followed by former House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn in fourth and Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, in fifth.

In the Republican contest, attorney and technology executive Mike Clancy easily defeated three other GOP contenders. Clancy will likely face an uphill battle in a district Wexton won by 6 percentage points in 2022.

7th District: Vindman’s victory

Eugene Vindman, a military officer who rose to national fame by helping his twin brother blow the whistle on former President Donald Trump’s conduct in office, won the Democratic nomination for the competitive 7th District seat being vacated by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Prince William.

Vindman’s anti-Trump profile helped him crush his Democratic rivals in fundraising and helped him win around 50% of the vote in a seven-person primary. Early results showed Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, finishing second.

Former Green Beret turned lawyer Derrick Anderson won the GOP nomination in the district, defeating fellow military veteran Cameron Hamilton. Four other Republican candidates were in the running, but the results reflected what was essentially a two-person race between Anderson and Hamilton.

Spanberger is running for governor in 2025 instead of seeking reelection to Congress.

Based largely in Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, the district also covers rural bits of central Virginia and has been seen as in play for Republicans as they seek to hold their majority in the House. In 2022, Spanberger defended her seat by 4.6 percentage points against Prince William supervisor Yesli Vega.

2nd District: Smasal wins, will take on Kiggans

Over in Virginia Beach, a Democratic primary set the stage for a general election that will likely draw national attention. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-backed Navy veteran Missy Cotter Smasal topped Democratic challenger attorney Jake Denton.

Denton trailed in fundraising, as Cotter Smasal had notched big endorsements from U.S. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries — who stands likely to become Speaker of the House if Democrats regain that chamber — along with all six of Virginia’s Democratic representatives and former governors Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe.

Incumbent Rep. Jenn Kiggans’ seat is among vulnerable Republicans that Democratic national groups are targeting ahead of November for potential to flip. Kiggans is a Navy veteran and nurse who previously served in Virginia’s state senate. She defeated fellow Navy veteran Elaine Luria in 2022 by 3.4 percentage points. The Virginia Beach-anchored district has oscillated between Democratic and Republican control over the years and is expected to be very competitive for both women by November.

1st District: Mehta succeeds

Attorney Leslie Mehta, who formerly worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, handily beat former New Kent County treasurer Herb Jones in a two-way Democratic primary.

She’ll now take on Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, in a Republican-leaning district.

Mehta received a high-profile endorsement from Spanberger in the primary.

5th District: Good v. McGuire, too close to call 

The results of the 5th District congressional primary contest weren’t solidified hours after voting ended, with Good and McGuire each pulling nearly 50% of all counted ballots Tuesday night.

Virginia’s largest congressional district attracted a national audience as GOP heavyweights campaigned with both men.

On election eve, once-and-possibly-future president Donald Trump had a virtual rally for McGuire, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga stumped for McGuire at multiple events and posted videos on social media in the weeks leading up to the election.

Meanwhile, Good had reinforcements from Florida congressman Matt Gaetz and Texas congressman Chip Roy. Good was also joined by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon (weeks before he’s due in federal prison for denying a subpoena related to a congressional investigation into the U.S. Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021).

At a June 7 event in Powhatan, Bannon said “prison is not gonna be that bad” and compared his upcoming sentence to his Navy service. “It’s just serving my country in a different way.”

He also praised Good for his service as an elected official and chair of the House Freedom Caucus, congress’ most conservative group.

While he had a high profile former Trump strategist backing him, he lacked the support of Trump himself.

Though both candidates share conservative Republican policy stances and have expressed admiration for Trump, it’s Good’s brief endorsement of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that has haunted him. Trump’s team also sent a cease and desist letter to Good’s campaign for using signs with his name that implied an endorsement he doesn’t have.

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 X.

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