RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Results from Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia:
8:53 p.m. With 98% of precincts reporting, Cheryl Turpin will be the Democratic nominee for Frank Wagner’s former Senate seat in District 7. She got 59% of the vote. Challengers Susan Hippen and Kim Howard had 27% and 13%, respectively.
On the GOP side, Jen Kiggans leads Carolyn Weems by a slim margin, 3,971 votes to 3,665.
8:51 p.m. — With 98% reporting, incumbent Lynwood Lewis wins his Democratic primary for Senate District 6 against Willie Randall. Lewis earned 71% of the vote.
8:50 p.m. With 99% reporting, V. Leigh Henderson unofficially has won the GOP primary over John “Clay” Atkinson, with 62% of the vote compared to 38%.
8:22 p.m. With 100% of precincts reporting, Amanda Batten and Mark Downey have both unofficially won their primary races in the battle for House of Delegates’ District 96 seat. Batten, a Republican, had 3,074 votes (62%) compared to challenger Melanie Rapp Beale’s 1,915 votes (38%).
Downey, a Democrat, was facing off against two challengers, Rebecca Leser and Christopher Mayfield. Downey got 54% of the vote (2,369 votes), Leser got 28% (1,215) and Mayfield got 19% (828).
7:52 p.m. Unofficial results: With 100% of precincts reporting, Martha Mugler takes the House of Delegates District 91 Democratic primary over Michael Brandon Wade, 69% to 31%.
7 p.m. – Polls close
Local officials are counting votes, and results from Tuesday’s vote should start coming in soon after polls closed at 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s contests have seen plenty of drama as moderates in both parties take fire from their parties’ outer flanks.
An unusually high number of Democratic incumbents are being challenged by liberal newcomers who aren’t shy about attacking their opponents as ethically compromised. On the GOP side, lingering resentment over last year’s vote to expand Medicaid is helping fuel unusually divisive nomination fights.
All 140 legislative seats are up for grabs this year. Virginia is the only state whose legislature has a reasonable chance of flipping partisan control. Republicans currently hold narrow majorities in both chambers.
Thirty-five statewide races are happening during the primary; 16 Senate races, 11 Democrat and 5 Republican. In the House, there are 19 races, 12 Democrat and 7 Republican. Come November, voters will decide who sits in all 140 seats in Virginia’s State Capitol.
In the Hampton Roads region, voters in parts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Poquoson, the Eastern Shore, York, James City and Matthews counties are heading to the polls to help decide who will be on the ballot in November’s General Election.
“If voters stay home from the primary, they may find themselves with few choices in the general election,” said Rich Meagher, associate professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College.
A number of longtime lawmakers are being challenged in their districts’ primaries. Meagher says this is a trend seen across the nation, bringing more newcomers to politics.
“The party polarization is driving more interest in these elections and it’s definitely driving challengers,” he explained. “If the parties are more extreme, if the parties are less towards the middle, it’s more likely that a moderate incumbent is going to be challenged from the outside.”
One example is the race for the 24th Senate seat, currently held by Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger. The incumbent was a key vote in getting Medicaid expansion passed in Virginia during the 2018 General Assembly Session.
That vote drummed up challengers, Meagher says.
“You have a couple of moderates in the Republican party, who for example, voted for Medicaid expansion. They’re getting challenged from hardcore conservatives in their district who think that kind of vote was a betrayal of Republican principles,” he explained.
Hanger is competing against Tina Freitas, who’s served on a number of GOP committees and contributes to multiple conservative media outlets. She is also the wife of GOP Del. Nick Freitas, who ran for Congress against Corey Stewart last year.
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The scandals surrounding the top three Democrats in office; Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, could also impact how the elections will play out over the next few years, but Meagher says it’s too soon to tell.
“The only exception would be is if there is super strong Democratic turn out both in the primaries here in June and in November for Democratic candidates,” Meagher explained. “If the blue wave is real and continues to maintain itself even with all of the destabilization in Virginia that’s a good sign for Democrats and a bad one for Republicans in 2020 [Presidential Election].”
If you’re heading to the polls, don’t forget to bring a form of identification with you. Click here for a full list of what you can bring.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11.