The first rumblings of a political year in which several dozen state and local officials face reelection will sound Tuesday when Northern Virginians vote in 14 primaries to select party nominees for the fall's general elections.
Polling places in Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington and Loudoun counties and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
When the day is over, voters will have decided the Democratic and Republican nominees in 11 contests for the state Senate and House of Delegates as well as the boards of supervisors in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. The general election will be Nov. 3.
If there is a common thread running through the various primaries, it is that transportation and development problems are the paramount local issues in Washington's Virginia suburbs. However, because all of the candidates seem to agree on this, voters may be hard-pressed to distinguish among them.
Perhaps the most closely watched primary will be the race for the Republican nomination in the 32nd Senate District, which includes northern Fairfax and Arlington counties as well as Falls Church.
There, Bobbie Kilberg, 42, a well-financed lawyer and former White House associate counsel, is pitted against Joyce Sutcliffe, 47, a right-wing civic activist who ran for the 32nd District seat four years ago and lost every precinct to Democratic Sen. Clive L. DuVal 2d. Kilberg has spent nearly $50,000 and Sutcliffe more than $10,000.
The race is seen as a classic tussle between the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party. If, as party regulars expect, Kilberg wins, she would be considered the underdog in the general election against DuVal, who has held the seat for 15 years. The 74-year-old DuVal has already announced he will retire after one more term -- leaving Kilberg and the GOP with an excellent chance in 1991 to pick up a Senate seat in this heavily Republican district.
In another significant GOP primary for the Fairfax county board, Dranesville District Supervisor Nancy K. Falck, 57, and Lloyd L. Thoburn, 25, scion of a politically active family of conservatives, are locked in a mud-slinging battle.
Falck, a two-term incumbent, is expected to win the primary, but the margin could be important; most analysts say that if she receives much less than 65 percent of the vote, it is a sign she may be vulnerable in the general election.
In that race, she would probably face well-known Democrat Lilla D. Richards and, possibly, an independent opponent such as Thoburn's father or older brother.
There is also a Democratic primary in Dranesville, where Richards, 48, a civic activist, is a strong favorite against Franklin S. Holland Jr., 31, assistant manager of a vacuum cleaner and sewing machine store and self-described conservative.
In Prince William County, a hard-fought Democratic primary featuring two of the county's best-known public figures has riveted local attention.
Former state Del. Floyd C. Bagley, 65, who retired from the General Assembly two years ago, is attempting a political comeback by challenging former county board chairman Edwin C. King, 57, in eastern Prince William's Dumfries District.
The winner of the contest, which is regarded as too close to call, is almost certain to win the general election because it appears there will be no Republican candidate in the race.
All three of the state's other Republican primaries for state legislative seats will also take place in Northern Virginia -- an indication of the cleavages in the local GOP. There are no Democratic primaries for the General Assembly in Northern Virginia.
Here are the candidates and prospects in those races:In the 37th House District of central Fairfax County -- the only legislative contest where the incumbent is not running -- Jane H. Woods, 40, a moderate school teacher, faces Robert W. Beers, 39, a conservative lawyer.
Woods, who has a solid base in Fairfax City, is given a slight edge in this primary. Either Woods or Beers is expected to have a tough race in the general election against Jeffrey J. Fairfield, an aggressive Democratic lawyer who came within 1 percentage point of winning the seat in 1985.
The 37th District seat was left open by the retirement of Del. Stephen E. Gordy, 67. In the 38th House District of eastern Fairfax County, former Del. Gwendalyn F. Cody, 65, a conservative who was defeated in her reelection bid two years ago after being rated the least effective member of the 100-seat House of Delegates, is rated by party regulars a slight favorite over A. Strode Brent Jr.
Brent, 45, a moderate, is a lawyer, Vietnam veteran and former Fairfax County prosecutor. Although he has been active in civic affairs, he has not run for office before.
The winner will face Democratic Del. Leslie L. Byrne, a 40-year-old businesswoman who defeated Cody in 1985. In the 36th Senate District of southern Fairfax County, former county school board member Gerald Fill, 48, faces lawyer C. Ronald Smith in a little-noted race. Neither is given much of a chance to unseat Democratic Sen. Joseph V. Gartlan Jr., a popular four-term incumbent.
In other Northern Virginia supervisor district primaries: In Fairfax County's sprawling Springfield District, Democrats Toni M. Carney, a former county school board member, and community activist Beatriz Garcia square off for the right to face Republican Supervisor Elaine McConnell in the general election. Carney is the favorite in the primary. In the rural Gainesville District in western Prince William County, incumbent Supervisor G. Anthony Guiffre is facing two challengers -- IBM engineer John W. Dempewolf Jr. and civic activist Betty Duley -- for the GOP nomination. The victor of that race will face the winner of the Democratic primary, between Manassas real estate agent Robert L. Cole and Claude J. Bradshaw, a teacher. In central Prince William's Brentsville District, County Board Chairman Joseph D. Reading, a Democrat, is retiring, clearing the way for several contenders. In the Democratic primary, Manassas lawyer Norborne P. Beville Jr. faces Richard W. Mechalske, a grocery store clerk. On the Republican side, Carroll A. Weimer Jr., 31, a Manassas lawyer, will face William J. Becker, 67, a retired civil servant. In eastern Prince William's Woodbridge District, Democratic voters will chose between Hilda M. Barg, 53, a businesswoman, and retired federal worker Lucian L. Johnston. In Loudoun County's rural western Catoctin District, two Democrats are vying to challenge Republican Supervisor Frank I. Lambert. Both candidates -- civic activists Betsey Brown and Joseph W. Keating Jr. -- have stressed the issue of controlling Loudoun's development.