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Primary races in D.C., Virginia will bring voters to the polls Tuesday

A voter casts a ballot at Emery Heights Community Center in Ward 4 in D.C. on June 10, the first day of early voting. (Vanessa G. Sanchez/The Washington Post)
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On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to select Democratic nominees in several D.C. races, including mayor, and pick nominees in some of Virginia’s most-watched GOP congressional races.

In D.C’s Democratic primary — which in this deep-blue city often determines who wins in the general election in November — voters will have the option to choose between two-term incumbent Mayor Muriel E. Bowser or one of her opponents, council members Robert C. White Jr. (At Large) and Trayon White Sr. (Ward 8), and former advisory neighborhood commissioner James Butler. Six council seats are on the ballot, including chair and an at-large seat, and, for the first time since 2014, voters will have the chance to select a new Democratic nominee for attorney general to replace Karl A. Racine (D).

In Virginia, voters will nominate GOP candidates for U.S. congressional seats in four districts, including the key 2nd and 7th congressional districts, which Republicans are eyeing as they seek to take back the House. There is only one Democratic primary this year, in the state’s 8th District, where longtime Rep. Don Beyer faces a challenge from political newcomer Victoria Virasingh.

Voting has been going on since last month in D.C., when the city mailed out ballots to all registered voters. As of Sunday, 21,157 D.C. voters used drop boxes and 12,005 voted early in person, according to the Board of Elections, while as of Saturday, 30,221 voted by mail. While those numbers are a fraction of the 114,890 ballots cast in total in the 2020 primary, they come closer to the 89,513 total cast in the 2018 primary, the most recent to be held in a nonpresidential election year. But many election volunteers predicted that voters would hold on to their ballots and vote on Election Day.

D.C. election is referendum on status quo versus liberal shake-up

Voters citywide will choose a Democratic nominee for council chair and an at-large seat, while wards 1, 3, and 5 have contested primaries. In Ward 6, incumbent Charles Allen is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In Ward 1, incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau, who has held the seat for eight years, is being challenged by former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary and Sabel Harris, an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

Three candidates dropped out of the crowded Ward 3 primary last week, throwing their support to candidate Matthew Frumin over another leading candidate, Eric Goulet, in the six-person race. Other candidates include Deirdre Brown, Beau Finley, Monte Monash and Phil Thomas.

In Ward 5, seven candidates are hoping to succeed outgoing council member Kenyan R. McDuffie, who opted to run for attorney general but then was declared ineligible to run for that office earlier in April: Gordon Fletcher, Faith Gibson Hubbard, Kathy Henderson, Gary Johnson, Art Lloyd, Vincent B. Orange and Zachary Parker. For D.C. Council chair, attorney Erin Palmer is challenging incumbent Phil Mendelson, who has held the office for a decade. And four candidates are vying for the at-large seat, including incumbent Anita Bonds, Lisa Gore, Nathan Fleming and Dexter Williams.

In Virginia, Republicans are choosing the candidates in the 2nd and 7th congressional districts who will go on to face Democrats Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger in November, in districts that the GOP hopes to flip back to red. In the 7th, three candidates are among the top contenders — Sen. Bryce E. Reeves (Spotsylvania), an Army veteran and former Prince William narcotics officer; Prince William County Board Supervisor Yesli Vega (Coles), who previously co-chaired a Latino group to support Gov. Glenn Youngkin; and former Green Beret Derrick Anderson. Other candidates are Spotsylvania County Board Supervisor David Ross, Stafford County Board Chairman Crystal Vanuch and former teacher Gina Ciarcia.

Virginia voters to pick GOP nominees in races that will shape midterms

In the 2nd, Navy veteran and geriatric nurse practitioner Jen Kiggans has been seen as the presumed GOP front-runner. She’s joined by far-right Navy veteran Jarome Bell, Air Force veteran and tattoo shop owner Tommy Altman, and Navy veteran and former prosecutor Andy Baan in seeking the nomination.

So far, more than 36,000 Virginians voted early in the primaries — nearly 19,000 in the single Democratic primary and about 18,400 across the four GOP primaries, including more than 6,000 in the 7th and more than 5,000 in the 2nd.

Polls are open in D.C. on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and in Virginia from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Meagan Flynn contributed to this report.