Virginia voters will head to the polls Tuesday, June 13, to choose their party’s nominees for this fall’s state elections.
At the polls, voters will be asked to take either the Democrat or Republican ballot. Virginia voters do not register by party. Plus, Loudoun Voter Registrar Judy Brown noted this week, “When you choose a ballot Tuesday, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily a Democrat or Republican—just that you’re choosing to vote in the party’s primary.”
Those who vote in the Democratic primary will be asked to choose between two candidates running for governor, three running for lieutenant governor, two running for the 33rd House District, and three running for the 67th House District. Those voting in the GOP primary will be tasked with choosing from three gubernatorial candidates vying for the party’s nomination, and three running for lieutenant governor.
Brown expects a light turnout. Typically, less than 10 percent of registered voters participate in primary elections. But this time around, her office ordered enough ballots to handle as much as 20 percent turnout. “To be prepared just in case,” she said.
Early in-person absentee votes have shown more Democrats going to the polls than Republicans. Brown said the heated race between Democrats Tia Walbridge and Mavis Taintor—both hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Del. David LaRock in the 33rd House District—may be drawing more people to vote in the primary.
The final day for people to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, June 10. The registrar’s office, at 750 Miller Dr. SE Suite C in Leesburg, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Three poll locations have been temporarily moved for primary day, to accommodate graduation ceremonies and a renovation project at a church. Voting that typically happens at the Aldie United Methodist Church for the 309 Aldie Precinct will take place at Church of our Redeemer, 39518 John Mosby Highway near Aldie. Voters from the 413 Tuscarora Precinct who typically vote at Tuscarora High School will instead vote at Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School, 800 N. King St. in Leesburg. And voters in the 209 Potomac Falls Precinct, who typically vote at Potomac Falls High School, will cast their ballots at River Bend Middle School next door, 46240 Algonkian Parkway in Cascades.
Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Follow Election Day coverage at loudounnow.com.
Republicans are in a three-way race for the nomination to run for governor. Of the three candidates, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has been leading by a wide margin in polls since early in the race. He is competing with Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart and veteran state Senator Frank Wagner.
But Gillespie is polling behind both Democratic candidates: Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, and attorney and former U.S. Representative and diplomat Tom Perriello.
Northam was considered the likely Democratic candidate for governor, and Perriello’s announcement came as a surprise to the Democratic establishment. In recent months, Northam and Perriello have polled neck-and-neck.
Both Democratic candidates for governor have visited Loudoun several times. Republicans have spent less time openly campaigning in Loudoun, despite both Stewart and Gillespie living in neighboring counties.
Wagner met with the Loudoun Now newsroom staff in May for a lengthy discussion about his ideas and campaign. Stewart kicked off his “Take Back Virginia” campaign tour in Sterling on Saturday, June 3.
Job: Pediatric neurologist, Virginia lieutenant governor
Ralph Northam is an Eastern Shore native, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, a Desert Storm veteran, and a pediatric neurologist. In 2008, he was elected to the Virginia Senate, and in 2014 he was elected lieutenant governor.
He has garnered endorsements from a battery of Democrats in high office, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, both Virginia U.S. senators, and the Virginia House and Senate Democratic Caucuses.
Northam describes himself as socially liberal and fiscally conservative, pitching “an economy that works for everyone.” That means more affordable childcare, paid family leave and lower college costs, among other initiatives. In visits to Loudoun, he has emphasized inclusiveness for religious minorities and LGBT people and “common sense gun laws.”
“We just witnessed a campaign in 2016 that was run on hatred; it was run on bigotry, discrimination, fear and a lot of misinformation; and I think most people in this commonwealth and this country are standing up and saying no. No, that is not the United States of America that I signed up for. That’s not the country that I love, and it’s not the Commonwealth of Virginia that I love,” Northam said on a campaign stop in Leesburg in February. “We’re not going to accept that this is the new normal.”
Tom Perriello has worked as an attorney, a nonprofit organization executive, a congressman and a diplomat. He is from the Charlottesville area originally, represented the 5th Congressional District for one term, was appointed Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Obama administration, and worked on the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which lays out the short- and long-term goals for diplomacy abroad.
He has won endorsements from more left-leaning people including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), several senior advisors to President Barack Obama, and local endorsements such as from Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) and former congressional candidate LuAnn Bennett.
He has pushed a more aggressively progressive platform, making waves with his call for a $15 per hour minimum wage and two years of free job training through community college, trade schools or apprenticeships—plans that he defends as realistic and for which he lays out economic arguments. He has also focused on adapting the economy to the impacts of automation.
“I believe that we do better when we actually go bolder, when we stand for the kinds of options that people say can affect their lives, like debt-free tuition,” Perriello said at a campaign stop in Sterling in April.
Residence: Fairfax County
A longtime high-level Republican operative, Ed Gillespie worked in the George. H. W. Bush White House, on several electoral campaigns, served as chair of the Republican National Committee, founded a lobbying firm that represented high-profile clients like Enron, and founded Crossroads GPS with Karl Rove. The New Jersey native began his political career working for Democratic Florida Congressman Andy Ireland, switching parties along with Ireland in 1984.
Gillespie is heavily favored in polling and has garnered endorsements from establishment and right-leaning elected Republicans including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Sen. Marco Rebio (R-FL), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10).
Gillespie has campaigned on across-the-board tax cuts, including a Virginia income tax cut and eliminating some taxes on businesses, such as the Business, Permits and Occupational Licenses tax and the Machine and Tool tax. He would seek to convene a special session of the General Assembly in 2018 to cut taxes. His tax reform plan is designed to be phased in over three years.
Job: Attorney, Prince William County Chairman
Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart was first elected to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in 2003, becoming chairman in 2007. A Minnesota native, he founded the international trade law firm, Stewart PLLC.
Stewart has drawn national attention for his hard-right ideals, including leading a major crackdown on illegal immigrants in 2007 and for serving as chairman of the Trump campaign in Virginia—until being fired for participating in a protest outside the Republican National Convention headquarters. He also drew heat for referring to rival Ed Gillespie as a “cuckservative” online and associating himself with Confederate imagery. He has campaigned on loosening gun laws, cracking down on illegal immigration and reducing government spending.
He has been endorsed by many people who worked on Trump’s campaign in Virginia. Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill originally endorsed Stewart, but switched allegiance to Ed Gillespie because of “all that Confederate stuff.” Four of the five other Republicans on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors have also endorsed Gillespie over Stewart.
Residence: Virginia Beach
Job: Businessman, state senator
A longtime legislator, Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7) has served in the U.S. Navy, founded two boat repair businesses, and served in the Virginia legislature for the past 25 years. He was born to a military family stationed in England, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and today serves on influential Senate committees including finance, rules, rehabilitation and social services, and chairs the commerce and labor committee. He is also a budget conferee.
Wagner has trailed both Gillespie and Stewart in polling, but campaigned on his experience in business and lawmaking. Much of his campaign has focused on energy policy, workforce development and infrastructure. He has advocated investing in Virginia’s lagging infrastructure, funded in part through increases to Virginia’s gas tax. He has also said his business experience led him to seek less burdensome regulation. He supports an increased focus on career and technical education.
“How can any politician go out there and talk about increasing jobs and building the economy, and diversifying the economy, without talking about a bigger investment in transportation?” Wagner said in a meeting with Loudoun Now in May. “It can’t be done.”
The lieutenant governorship is a part-time office that is charged only with presiding over the state Senate and breaking tie votes. The position has gained more recognition in recent years because the Senate has been more closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, resulting in more ties for the lieutenant governor to break.
Glenn Davis Jr.
Residence: Virginia Beach
Job: Telecommunications management entrepreneur and state delegate
Since Glenn Davis Jr. first announced his run for lieutenant governor a little more than a year ago, he’s made his mantra, “make Virginia number one again for business and job growth.”
Davis enters the statewide race in the middle of his second term in the Virginia House of Delegates, where he represents the 84th District, including part of Virginia Beach. He serves on the education, transportation, militia, police and public safety committees. Before his delegate run, he was elected to two terms on the Virginia Beach City Council, ousting a 28-year incumbent.
In his run for lieutenant governor, Davis has focused his platform on tax reform, easing regulations on small businesses, modernizing education and creating 21st century jobs. He recently traveled to Estonia—where he says students as young as 10 years old are taught coding—in an effort to bring more technology jobs to Virginia.
In 2014, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce named Davis its Freshman Legislator of the Year for his leadership promoting private sector job growth.
He has also said that, if elected, he will work to stop Medicaid expansion and provide families with more school choice.
He recently earned a highly sought-after endorsement from Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, who called Davis innovative in his approach to create jobs and develop Virginia’s next-generation workforce.
Job: Insurance agent and state senator
Bryce Reeves, a second-term state senator, was the first Republican to formally announce his run for lieutenant governor.
Since 2012, Reeves has represented the 17th Senate District, which includes the city of Fredericksburg, Orange County and parts of Albemarle, Culpeper, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties.
He won kudos from Republican gun-rights advocates in early 2016 when he helped broker a deal with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) that expanded the right to carry concealed weapons in Virginia in exchange for voluntary background checks at gun shows and tougher restrictions on domestic abusers.
Before his run for office, Reeves served as a U.S. Army Ranger and later as a narcotics detective.
On the campaign trail, he has said that he will oppose gun control measures that infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, support small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs, and fight any efforts to expand Medicaid. He’s also pushed the idea of putting together a statewide task force to battle Virginia’s opioid epidemic.
“I am committed to addressing this horrendous epidemic,” Reeves said in a statement. “Drugs are taking too many lives and we have to do everything we can to stop that.”
Job: Attorney and state senator
In the three-candidate race for the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, Jill Vogel carries the most political experience.
She’s served in the state Senate for the past 10 years, representing the 27th District, which includes Clark and Frederick counties, the city of Winchester and parts of Fauquier, Culpeper and Loudoun counties. She is the Republican Party’s Caucus Whip in the state Senate.
Before running for state Senate, she served as deputy general counsel in the U.S. Department of Energy, before starting her own law firm, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky.
In her first run for a state-wide office, she has said she will continue, “the fight for our conservative principles.”
Vogel stopped in Loudoun County last fall to campaign for then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. She, alongside Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart, spoke at a Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting. Vogel countered Democrats’ efforts to paint Republicans as being against women and the working class. Women are more concerned about the Second Amendment protections and economic freedoms championed by Republicans, she said.
On the campaign trail, Vogel has said she’s always put principle before party and vowed to continue to do so. “The big issues of our time are non-partisan issues. Issues of public safety, economic freedom, health care reform, jobs. They are not partisan issues. They’re good government issues.”
Residence: Fairfax County
Justin Fairfax was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor and, if elected, he will be the first black person to serve in the position.
Like his opponent Gene Rossi, Fairfax served as a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia. He served as a deputy of the Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit and as a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force. He also co-owns a dental practice with his wife. He is a graduate of Colombia Law School.
His comments along the campaign trail have focused on the commonwealth’s economy.
“I am passionate about creating and protecting economic security and opportunity for all Virginians,” Fairfax said during his announcement of his candidacy, “As a former federal prosecutor, I know just how fragile security and stability for hard-working families can be.”
He supports changing Virginia’s minimum wage to a “living wage” of $15 per hour, providing more incentives for small business growth, and greater workforce training for “middle-skill” jobs—ones that require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree.
On the education side, he wants to ease student debt and increase funding for public early childhood education programs. Fairfax also plans to reform the criminal justice system to be more focused on rehabilitation and less on punishing legal offenders.
Fairfax has the most campaign funding and endorsements of the three candidates. On the federal level, he has endorsements by U. S. Reps. Donald McEachin (D-VA-4) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11).
Residence: Great Falls
Job: Political Consultant
While Susan Platt has never run for public office before, she has a career of behind-the-scenes political work. After managing David Smith’s failed campaign for Congress in 1990, Platt served as campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Chuck Robb (D-VA), securing his re-election in 1994. From 1995 to 1997, she served as chief of staff for then-Senator Joe Biden.
“I really liked the campaigning. I really liked the grassroots,” Platt said. “I really liked being out there talking to people and organizing people.”
Platt now works as a lobbyist, and says she was motivated to run for office after the election of President Donald J. Trump.
Platt’s signature proposal is to form a new state cabinet to help parents navigate the resources available for children in need. She also wants to diversify the commonwealth’s economy by growing its tourism industry, inspired by her experience on the Virginia Tourism Corporation board. On health care, she has been a vocal proponent of abortion rights. Environmentally, Platt wants to ban offshore drilling and fracking, while increasing funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort.
If elected, Platt would be the first woman to serve as Virginia’s lieutenant governor. She has framed her campaign as an empowering movement for women, and recently tweeted, “Today, a male Dem elected official told me he doesn’t like how I advocate for more women in office. Now I’m more determined than ever.”
Platt has collected more than 30 endorsements from municipal leaders across the commonwealth, and has also been publicly endorsed by television personality Rosie O’Donnell.
Job: Adjunct professor, former federal prosecutor
Gene Rossi’s 27 years as a federal prosecutor helped shape his platform in his campaign for lieutenant governor.
For four of those years, he prosecuted cases for an organized crime drug enforcement task force in Alexandria. From 2001 to 2016, he served as deputy chief of the narcotics unit of U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Rossi holds the record of most felony jury trials for the office’s Alexandria division, with 65 cases.
He has made addressing the opioid epidemic a central tenet of his campaign for statewide office.
“In 2002, I was a canary in a coal mine. I was one of the few federal prosecutors to focus on what now is an epidemic because I saw it coming,” Rossi said. “The epidemic was touching all parts of the state even in 2002. And over the last 15 years, I led the largest investigation in U.S. history to address the opioid crisis. It was called Operation Cotton Candy.”
As lieutenant governor, Rossi would want to bolster the “three-pronged approach” of opioid prevention, enforcement and treatment.
His other top priority is health care, which he takes personally. He’s had cancer and his daughter survived lymphoma. He is a strong proponent of the Affordable Care Act, and explicitly states he would resist the President Donald J. Trump administration’s efforts to alter or remove it. Rossi also wants to expand Medicaid in Virginia.
He supports raising Virginia’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 by 2023, and he also wants to strengthen early childhood education programs, public education and opposes voucher programs.
House of Delegates
Loudoun County is divided into six House of Delegates districts, currently represented by four Republicans and two Democrats. Only two districts feature party primaries. Democrats will vote June 13 to choose their nominees in the 33rd District and the 67th District.
Two Democrats are vying for the chance to unseat two-term incumbent Republican Del. Dave LaRock: Round Hill-area resident Tia Walbridge and Waterford resident Mavis Taintor.
LaRock has established a reputation as a solidly right-leaning delegate who strongly opposed the extension of Metro service to Loudoun as well as the Northern Virginia transportation funding legislation. During the most recent General Assembly session, he sponsored unsuccessful bills restricting abortion, requiring fetal remains be disposed of by burial or cremation, and include viable fetuses under laws governing child abuse and neglect. He also sponsored a bill to prohibit the Board of Education from implementing Common Core standards in place of the Standards of Learning without prior approval from the General Assembly, and another to set up school choice vouchers. Both were passed in the General Assembly but vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
The 33rd District encompasses northwestern Loudoun, including Lucketts, Waterford, Lovettsville, Hillsboro, Round Hill, Hamilton, and Hillsboro, and stretches west into Clarke and Frederick counties.
Residence: Round Hill
Tia Walbridge and her husband own a sheep farm near Round Hill and a rental business. She says she would support investment in small businesses and the rural economy; guaranteeing affordable health care, in part by accepting a federal expansion of Medicaid; investing in renewable energy, and expanding programs like full-day-kindergarten and elementary school language courses in the public schools. Walbridge has been visible at many Indivisible resistance movement events around Loudoun County.
Walbridge has been endorsed by Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and Purcellville councilman Chris Bledsoe.
Job: Finance, horse farm
Mavis Taintor moved to Waterford 10 years ago and established a horse farm there. She enters politics from a career in banking and finance industry, the co-founder and managing director of Callidus Capital Management LLC, a $4 billion asset management firm.
Taintor says she wants to support and incentivize small business though increased investment in transportation and communications, accepting a federal Medicaid expansion, increased funding for schools, and “dignity for all,” accusing LaRock of wasting time and taxpayer money on “initiatives that seek to marginalize members of our community.”
She has been endorsed by Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk and Purcellville Councilwoman Karen Jimmerson.
Three Democrats are competing to run against four-term incumbent Republican Del. James M. LeMunyon: Karrie Delaney, John Carey and Hannah Risheq.
LeMunyon last year sponsored legislation that requires school boards to notify parents anytime class sizes exceed prescribed class sizes, and added an additional representative to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission from Loudoun County. He also introduced bills that would have required Virginia to compare its voter registration records against certain data exchanges with other states, and that would have prohibited electronic signatures on applications for absentee ballots to be sent to addresses in the United States. Both voting-related bills were carried over to the 2017 session.
The 67th District sits mostly in Fairfax County, including only a relatively small area of Loudoun in South Riding.
Karrie Delaney has worked at a group home for foster children, for a state’s attorney office with juvenile offenders, and as communications director for Shared Hope International, a nonprofit combating sex trafficking. After leaving Shared Hope International, she started her own consulting firm. She is also chairwoman of the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees and continues to do volunteer work with Voice for Vaccines.
Delaney was a registered Republican in Florida before moving to Virginia. She says she wants to work with Republicans, Independents and Democrats. According to her campaign manager, she supports “commonsense gun-control laws” and is a supporter of abortion rights.
John Carey, a native of Bangalore, India, who has lived in four countries, has been a Democratic activist since 2000. He has worked for People for the American Way and in voter advocacy, and supported the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He was also a stay-at-home father, providing child care for he and his wife’s two children.
Carey said the district must resist “fear-mongering” by President Donald J. Trump and embrace diversity. He said that the voters in the district “deserve a choice.”
Job: Social worker
Hannah Risheq has drawn national attention as a young, first-generation American social worker with Palestinian and Jewish parents. She is a North Carolina native who has worked on both the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton presidential campaigns.
She says she will fight for improved access to health care, increase mental health programs, combat the opioid epidemic, embrace diversity and inclusion, and close gender gaps in wages and the workforce. She also wants to increase access to public transportation.
Risheq has been endorsed by the National Association of Social Workers and Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling).