Other than House races, there are no major elections in Virginia in 2004.
GOP U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock announced his retirement amid claims that he is gay in late August. Republicans from Schrock's conservative district, which includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach, chose Thelma Drake, a state delegate from Norfolk, to oppose Democratic lawyer David B. Ashe.
Schrock, 63, cited unspecified allegations in a statement he released as the reason he decided not to seek a third term. He said the claims "have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia's Second Congressional District."
Claims that Schrock is gay were posted on a Web log Aug. 19 by Michael Rogers, who said his blog is aimed at exposing "hypocrites" in Congress.
Schrock is married and a conservative who has voted for legislation to ban gay marriages. In January 2001 he was elected president of the Republican House freshman class and landed a seat on the House Armed Services Committee.
Seven-term Democratic Rep. Jim Moran will face Republican Lisa Marie Cheney in the November general election. Cheney, a missile defense expert, is no relation to the vice president.
Moran faced his toughest primary fight in years against political newcomer Andrew Rosenberg, who criticized Moran's comments opposing the war in Iraq as anti-Semitic. Moran says they were taken out of context and apologized.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is focusing on the Republican-leaning state by making frequent appearances and airing television commercials. Kerry is the only presidential candidate on the air in Virginia, making a foray into a state that President Bush solidly won in 2000.
Kerry advisers think Virginia has become more of a northern state because of population shifts in the late 1990s and early 2000s and that Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, can do well along the coast, which has a heavy military presence.
The state's Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is being considered a potential running mate choice for Kerry. Warner is a fresh face after winning election in 2001, and he could help in important Southern states. Like all governors, he has struggled with budget problems, and his plan to close the deficit relies partially on tax increases.
In the 2002 races, Republican Senator John Warner sailed to a fifth six-year term against two independents.
Questions surround whether Warner will run in 2008, when his next term expires. He'll be 81. But Warner says he'll retire when he dies.
In one closely-watched House race in 2002, Virgil Goode, a Democrat who became a Republican over the summer, retained his seat.
By wide margins, voters rejected sales tax increases of one cent in southeastern Virginia and a half-cent in northern Virginia to pay for highway and transit projects.
Republican Eric Cantor eclipsed Democrat Ben Jones, a former Georgia congressman who played Cooter on TV's "Dukes of Hazzard."