Voters to Determine Republican and Democratic Candidates for House and Senate

Voters to Determine Republican and Democratic Candidates for House and Senate

Low turnout expected in June 12 primary.

Election Day is in November.

Election Day is in November. Photo by Michael Lee Pope.

Republican Candidates for Senate

  • Jamie Radtke
  • George Allen
  • Bob Marshall
  • E.W. Jackson

Democratic Candidates for House

  • Jim Moran
  • Bruce Shuttleworth

Election officials are expecting an extremely low turnout for the June 12 primary, ranging from 3 percent in Arlington to 15 percent in Alexandria. Fairfax County election officials don’t make predictions, although requests for absentee ballots indicates next week’s election is not expected to bring large numbers of voters to the polls.

“It’s not quite dead,” said Fairfax County Registrar Cameron Quinn. “But on the other hand, the door is not exactly being pulled off the hinges with people coming in our office to vote.”

Republican voters will be choosing between four candidates to be their nominee for the November election, when the winner of next week’s election will face former Gov. Tim Kaine to fill the seat vacated by incumbent Sen. Jim Webb. The frontrunner in the race is former Gov. George Allen, who lost the seat to Webb six years ago. But Allen has three challengers — tea party favorite Jamie Radtke, Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) and Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson.

“Having three opponents is good for Allen because all of the anti-Allen vote will be splintered, and there’s been no indication that he’s in any trouble in the primary,” said Kyle Kondik, analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “We can read the tea leaves all we want about what percentage of the vote he gets, but it would be a shock if he didn’t win.”

Democratic voters will be choosing between longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) and challenger Bruce Shuttleworth, a first-time candidate. Shuttleworth has attempted to attack Moran on many of the same themes as several of his recent challengers, accusing the 10-term congressman of using his power as an elected official to help campaign contributors and himself. Some Moran supporters were concerned that a Texas-based, anti-incumbent political action committee known as Campaign for Primary Accountability would help Shuttleworth. But that financial support never seemed to materialize.

“It doesn’t seem like Campaign for Primary Accountability has put much of a commitment into this race, which probably means they don’t think there’s much of a potential for Moran to lose,” said Kondik. “So my assumption is that Moran is fine.”

Election officials in Alexandria are predicting the highest turnout, in part because of the hotly contested primary for Alexandria City Council. That race features 14 candidates seeking six slots on the Democratic ticket for November. Alexandria registrar Tom Parkins says the city could see as much as a 15 percent turnout, which would translate to about 12,000 voters. That’s based on turnout from the last time Moran had a closely contested primary race in 2004, when he faced a challenge from Andrew Rosenberg. Alexandria Democrats have traditionally used a firehouse caucus to determine its slate of City Council candidates, which brought about 2,000 voters to the polls. That means next week’s election is expected to have about six times as many voters.

“Because there are so many candidates, that could make a difference,” said Parkins. “If you have several candidates that really organize and get people out, we could see those numbers go up.”

Arlington, by contrast, is expecting an extremely light showing at the polls. Although Arlington voters had 12 percent turnout for a special election in March for the Arlington County Board, Registrar Linda Lindberg says next week’s primary is not expected to draw nearly as many voters. So far, requests for absentee ballots have been sparse. So she’s expecting turnout on Election Day to follow that trend. That could mean anywhere from 3 percent to 8 percent.

“Interest in this election has been pretty light,” said Lindberg. “But who knows? Things could change between now and June 12.”