Turnout in Virginia 8th congressional primary didn’t break 8 percent

Less than 8 percent of voters in Northern Virginia’s 8th congressional district cast ballots Tuesday, a tiny turnout despite the large number of Democrats who ran, and typical of the less-competitive primary races won by retiring Rep. James Moran (D) in years past.

Don Beyer, former lieutenant governor of Virginia, former ambassador and fundraiser for President Obama, won decisively, with almost 46 percent of the 38,847 votes cast, according to unofficial vote totals. The next-highest vote-getter was state Del. Patrick Hope, with 7,092, or 18 percent.

Two years ago, when Moran last faced a primary challenger, turnout was 31,024, or 6.35 percent. The district map was redrawn in 2010, but turnout in congressional primaries is usually less than 20 percent, voter registrars said.

Most of the votes in the redrawn 8th congressional district come from Arlington or Fairfax counties, followed by the city of Alexandria and Falls Church. Beyer won a plurality in each of those four jurisdictions.

Post-election day analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project shows that Beyer dominated in most precincts, except for central Arlington, the base of Del. Patrick Hope; six precincts in state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s district; three southern Alexandria precincts claimed by Lavern Chatman, the former head of the Northern Virginia Urban League; and three Alexandria precincts won by William Euille, the city’s mayor who has been in local politics since the 1980s.

Beyer will face Republican Micah Edmond and several third-party candidates in the November general election.

Patricia Sullivan seeks out news about Alexandria and Arlington County for the Washington Post.
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