The Latest: Wexton wins Dem primary in key Virginia district


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on voting in Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia (all times local):

A former CIA officer has won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Brat.

Abigail Spanberger defeated Dan Ward, a former Marine Corps pilot, in Tuesday’s primary race in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Spanberger will face Brat, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, in November. Brat did not face a primary opponent.

Brat is seeking his third term after winning a stunning upset in the Republican primary four years ago over then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-most powerful person in the House. At the time, Brat was a little-known economics professor at Randolph-Macon College.

The Republican-leaning 7th District runs from Blackstone to Culpeper and includes parts of suburban Richmond.

Also campaigning are Libertarian Joe Walton and independent Helen Alli. They’ve trailed the major-party candidates significantly in fundraising.

A former CIA officer has won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Brat.

Abigail Spanberger defeated Dan Ward, a former Marine Corps pilot, in Tuesday’s primary race in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Spanberger will face Brat, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, in November. Brat did not face a primary opponent.

Brat is seeking his third term after winning a stunning upset in the Republican primary four years ago over then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-most powerful person in the House. At the time, Brat was a little-known economics professor at Randolph-Macon College.

The Republican-leaning 7th District runs from Blackstone to Culpeper and includes parts of suburban Richmond.

Also campaigning are Libertarian Joe Walton and independent Helen Alli. They’ve trailed the major-party candidates significantly in fundraising.

Freshman congressman Scott Taylor has won the Republican primary in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

The former Navy SEAL on Tuesday defeated Mary Jones, a former chair of the James City County Board of Supervisors.

In November, Taylor will face either former Navy Commander Elaine Luria or school teacher Karen Mallard, both Democrats. Hampton businesswoman Shaun Brown is running as an independent.

Taylor won the district on Virginia’s coast by nearly 23 percentage points in 2016. The district is considered far more competitive this year as antipathy grows against President Donald Trump. However, political observers say it still leans Republican.

National Democrats have been targeting Taylor in their quest to flip the district and recapture the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes the Eastern Shore, Williamsburg and Virginia Beach.

Polls have closed in Virginia’s primary elections.

Republican voters were picking a candidate Tuesday for the U.S. Senate while Democrats are choosing candidates in competitive House races.

Corey Stewart, Nick Freitas and E.W. Jackson are vying for the GOP Senate nomination. Stewart is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and Confederate monuments while Freitas is backed by state party leaders.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine is seeking a second term, though he wasn’t on a ballot Tuesday. The former governor and 2016 vice-presidential nominee became his party’s nominee in March, when no other Democrats filed to run against him. So, unlike Republicans, Virginia Democrats did not need a primary Tuesday in the Senate race.

Local elections officials are reporting low turnout so far across Virginia in Tuesday’s primary.

Jake Washburne is Albemarle County’s general registrar. He says turnout there, where the only race on the ballot was the GOP Senate primary, was around 2 percent of total registered voters as of 1 p.m.

The Arlington Elections Office tweeted that midday voter turnout was “pretty low, averaging 2.9% in the Democratic primary and 1.2% in the Republican race.”

In southwest Virginia’s Washington County, Director of Elections Derek Lyall says turnout as of 3 p.m. was around 2.6 percent in the Democratic primary and 1.8 percent in the GOP primary.

Election turnout is generally low in primary contests.

Virginia Beach voter Orville Bohner says he voted for Corey Stewart in the three-way Republican Senate primary to determine who will face Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine in November.

The 73-year-old Bohner said Tuesday he initially supported Nick Freitas, a state delegate. But he says he ultimately voted for Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, after the Freitas campaign became too negative.

Stewart is a die-hard supporter of President Donald Trump and has criticized Freitas as being insufficiently loyal to the president. Freitas has accused Stewart of showing poor judgment because of past associations with “hate mongers.”

Bohner says Stewart isn’t perfect but the “lesser of three evils” on the ballot.

11:40 a.m.

Early voting in Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia appears to be going smoothly.

A spokeswoman for the state elections office says she is unaware of any problems with balloting as voters visit their local precincts to narrow the field of candidates in a Republican U.S. Senate contest and nine Congressional races, both Democratic and Republican.

Primary elections also are being held for a handful of local offices.

11:00 a.m.

Virginia voter Robert Monroe, who lives in Glen Allen, says he voted for Abigail Spanberger in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the 7th Congressional District because she is a woman.

Monroe says that to defeat incumbent Republican Dave Brat, Democrats need to energize voters, women in particular, and he thinks Spanberger can do that. She faces Dan Ward in Tuesday’s primary.

Spanberger also has the support of Bernard Cheatham, a retired computer operator from Glen Allen. Cheatham is a former Marine who says he admires Ward for also serving in the Marines but thinks Ward has placed too much emphasis on his military service and did not talk enough about other issues.

10:45 a.m.

Virginia voter Patrick Gordon says he voted for state Del. Nick Freitas in the Republican primary to determine who will face Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine in November.

Freitas’ primary opponents are Corey Stewart, who is chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and has modeled himself after President Donald Trump, and E.W. Jackson, a minister from Chesapeake.

Gordon, a 70-year-old retired Defense Department administrator, says he is not impressed with Stewart, who sought the Republican nomination for governor last year.

All three Republican candidates have 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.

Virginia primary voters are set to narrow the field of candidates in a variety of federal and local races.

Among the contests on the ballot Tuesday is that for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Three candidates are facing off for the chance to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who does not have a primary opponent.

There are also primaries in nine congressional races, some in both parties. The most crowded is the Democratic race for the 10th District in northern Virginia.

All localities will have a primary, but not necessarily for both parties. Voters will choose which party’s ballot they want.

Anyone not already registered won’t be able to vote. Virginia doesn’t allow same-day registration.

This article originally appeared here via Google News