; Picture 7, Democratic candidate for attorney general Edward E. Lane and his wife, Jean, greet election workers as they arrive early to vote in Richmond. UPI; Picture 8, GOP candidate J. Marshall Coleman and his wife head for poll in Staunton. UPI

Virginia House Majority Leader James M. Thomson (D-Alexandria) appeared to have been defeated yesterday in a closely fought contest for his 12th term in the House of Delegates.

Thomson was trailing fellow Democrat Richard R.G. Hobson and Republican Gary R. Myers in the three-way contest for two seats.

Known as "Landslide Thomson" because of his many close election races, Thomson was the target of women's organizations who sought to oust him because of his oppossition in the legislature to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the 23rd Legislative District encompassing Arlington County and Alexandria, Attorney Elise B. Heinz Thomas G. Shafran in early returns. Heinz, making her first bid for political office, stressed support for the ERA as part of her campaign.

In southern Fairfax County, with the votes counted in more than onefourth of the precincts. Republican incumbents Dels. Warren E. Barry and Robert E. Harris held commanding leads in an 11-way contest for five seats.

Democrat Gladys Keating and Republican conservative Robert Thoburn also held slight leads as did Democrat incumbent Richard L. Saslaw. Democratic incumbent Del. Thomas jefferson Rothrock trailed Saslaw in the race for the last seat.

In the northern Fairfax legislative district, five-term Republican incumbent Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. held a commanding lead in the balloting for five seats. Also leading were seventerm incumbent Democratic Dels. Dorethy S. McDiarmid and Raymond Vicery and Republican challengers Martin H. Perper and Peter W. Scott.

In the 20th District, which includes Loudoun and Prince William counties, the three Democratic incumbents, Del. Floyd C. Bagley, Earl E. Bell and David G. Brickley were leading in early returns.

In Arlington, Democratic incumbent Dels. Mary Marshall and Warren G. Stambaugh were ahead in the six way race for three seats. Democrat James F. Almand and Assistant Arlington Commonwealth's attorney, was ahead in the race for the third seat.

Yesterday's election capped a six-months-long campaign in which 40 candidates representing a variety of political philosophies, campaign styles and occupations sought 19 delegate seats in Northern Virginia.

They included 22-year-old Michael Leahy, a George Mason University student who hitchhiked to political functions; Thompson, a veteran of 11 legislative sessions and the most influntial Northern Virginia in the General Assembly; and Thoburn, a minister and operator of a private Christian School in Fairfax Ciunty.

Fourteen incumbents, including 11 Democrats and three Reoublicans, sought re-electio. Five incumbents were not on the ballot yesterday.

Three incumbents Republician Wyatt B. Durrette of Fairfax County and Democrats John L. Melnick and Ira M. Lechner of Arlington were unsuccessful last spring in bids for party nominations to statewide office.

Three-term Del. James H. Dillard in southern Fairfax was narrowly defeated in last June's Republican primary after a bitter campaign in which conservative opponents attacked him as being too liberal.

Five-term Del. Carrington Williams chose not to seek re-election and plans to run for the U.S. Senate next year.

The local delegrate races were focused on a variety of issues - the infighting among Republicans in southern Fairfax County, the Equal Rights Amendment in Alexandria, and service to constitutents in Loudoun and Prince William counties.

In a campaign that was often overshadowed by the statewide races, candidates resorted to numerous devices to bring attention to their races.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, the wife of former Secretary of the Navy John Warner, made campaign appearances for Republicans Callahan of Fairfax. George M. oseh of Arlington and Shafran, a candidate for the Arlington-Alexandria floter seat.

Washington Redskins kenny Houston and Charley Taylor were drawing cards at a fund-raiser for Democrat karetta Browning Hubbard in the northern Fairfax County race.

In Southern Fairfax County, Democrat Vernon L. (Lee) Strang Jr. staged a bike-a-thon, while Barbara Weiss, a Democratic candidate from northern Fairfax, played tennis with Rep. Joseph L. Fisher (D-Va.).

There were garage sales, auctions jogging exhibitions, wine and cheese parties, cider and doughnut parties, and and discos, all in the name of participatory democracy.

For the most part, the campaigns were low-budget operations with the majority of the candidates spending between $5,000 and $10,000, although Republican Lawrence D. Pratt in southern Fairfax County said he hoped to raise $27,850.

Most candidates stayed away from the state-wide races and concentrated on local issues. Democrat Keating in southern Fairfax County focused her campaign against utility rates. Calahan stressed his seniority after years term in the House of Delegates.

Democrats Bagley, Bell and Brickley called the three B's , emphasized their record of consituent service in their bid for re-election to second terms representing Prince William and Loudoun counties. CAPTION: Picture 1 through 4, Voters display variety of footwork, and use of chairs, in Bristol, Va, Picture 5, Arlington Board incumbent Ellen Bozman offers smile at Arlington center, (AP); By [WORD ILLEGIBLE] ; Picture 6, Sherman Pratt, Arlington Board candidate, talks to voter at Randolph School. By [WORD ILLEGIBLE]