Virginia voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to elect a governor and to choose between candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general in races that, for the first time in modern state history, include a black and a woman as the nominees of a major party seeking state office.
All 100 seats in the House of Delegates also are on the ballot, including 24 House districts in Northern Virginia. Some incumbent delegates in the region are unopposed. No state Senate seats are before the voters this year.
Local elections include a contest for sheriff in Alexandria, a county board seat in Arlington, and numerous commissioner of revenue positions. Voters in Fairfax County also will be asked to decide a $135 million bond issue question.
Polls in Virginia open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Virginia's is one of only two gubernatorial elections in the nation this year. (The other is in New Jersey.)
The contest is between Gerald L. Baliles, a Democrat, who resigned the position of state attorney general in July to run, and Wyatt B. Durrette Jr., a Republican who is a Richmond lawyer. Baliles is a former state delegate from the Richmond suburbs; Durrette was a state legislator from northern Fairfax County from 1972 to 1978.
Both men have stressed their ties to respective "father figures." Baliles has embraced Gov. Charles S. Robb, a popular Democrat who swept into office four years ago and helped boost Baliles to the state's top legal position as attorney general, beating out Durrette, his 1981 opponent.
Durrette has emphasized his support of President Reagan, who appeared on Durrette's behalf at a fund-raiser in Crystal City on Oct. 9, generating images that have been repeated in Durrette's campaign ads on television and elsewhere.
Each candidate has depicted himself as a fiscal conservative, challenging his opponent to concede that his plans for running Virginia for the next four years will result in excessive costs and higher taxes.
The contest for lieutenant governor pits two state senators against each other -- Republican John H. Chichester, an insurance executive in Fredericksburg, and Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, a Richmond attorney. Wilder is the first black to run for statewide office who has been nominated by a major party in modern Virginia history.
Running for attorney general are two state delegates: Republican W. R. (Buster) O'Brien, a Virginia Beach lawyer, and Democrat Mary Sue Terry, an attorney from Patrick County in Southside Virginia. Terry is the first woman to run for statewide office as the nominee of a major party.
The candidates, both conservatives, have spent much of the campaign trying to gain advantage on the question of who has more legal experience.
In Alexandria, voters will be asked to elect a sheriff, choosing between Republican incumbent Michael E. Norris and James H. Dunning, an independent. The city's chief prosecutor, Democrat John E. Kloch, is unopposed for reelection.
The lone Arlington County Board race pits incumbent Ellen M. Bozman, an independent backed by the Democrats, against Richard J. Herbst, an independent with Republican backing.
Voters in Fairfax County will decide on whether to approve a $135 million bond issue for reconstruction and improvement of county roads. Voters in the McLean area also will be asked to approve $1.5 million for expansion and renovation of a community center.