Top State Candidates Woo Loudoun Voters

Tuesday is decision day. Virginians will head to the polls to choose their next governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and delegates who will represent them in the General Assembly.

The races for Virginia’s top seats are among the nation’s most watched this election season. Election Day in the commonwealth is seen as a political litmus test for how Republicans will fair in moderate states in the wake of President Donald J. Trump’s divisive first year in office.

Both parties know what’s at stake. With the big day in sight, candidates vying for Virginia’s top seats made campaign stops in Loudoun and brought a few of their party’s all-stars with them.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who Loudoun Republicans backed for president over local runner-up Trump in last year’s presidential primary, headlined an Ed Gillespie campaign event last week  in Arcola.

The three men at the top of Virginia’s Democratic ticket spent last Wednesday in Leesburg, championing their ideas for tackling the commonwealth’s top health concerns and again campaigned in Loudoun over the weekend.

While Virginia’s governorship has flipped back and forth between the two parties over the years, Loudoun voters are almost always on the winning side. During the past two decades, they backed Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Tim Kaine and Republicans Robert McDonnell, Jim Gilmore and George Allen. The exception was in 2001 when Mark Earley, who now has his law practice in Leesburg, outperformed Mark Warner in his unsuccessful bid for the governor’s seat.

Gillespie and Northam have been popular candidates in Loudoun County. Both have once before campaigned statewide and both won the majority among Loudoun voters.

Four years ago, Northam got the most Loudoun votes of any statewide candidate in handily beating E.W. Jackson for the lieutenant governor’s seat. He even landed more votes than home-grown attorney general candidate Mark Herring.

Gillespie took Loudoun in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Mark Warner in 2014’s U.S. Senate race. Like the statewide results, the race was close here. The Republican won 45,500-45,042.

Turnout is expected to play a key role in Tuesday’s outcome. In McAuliffe’s victory four years ago, voter turnout in Loudoun was 46 percent—the highest level of voter interest since 1997. During McDonnell’s win in 2009, 39.57 percent of Loudoun voters went to the polls.

Also on Tuesday’s ballot are all 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Read about the candidates vying for seats to represent Loudoun residents in the state House here: Election Guide: House of Delegates.

Leesburg voters will select a council member to finish out Kelly Burk’s unexpired council term following her election as mayor last fall. On the ballot are Joshua Thiel and Vanessa Maddox. Get to know their priorities if elected here: Election Guide: Leesburg Town Council

Round Hill also is holding a special election Tuesday. Voters will be selecting a neighbor to finish the term of Kimberly Fortunato. In January, the Town Council appointed Planning Commissioner Michael Hummel to fill the seat until the election is held. Hummel is the only candidate to file to be on the ballot. The term will expire June 30, 2020.

Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. Voters must bring a photo ID; those who arrive at the polls without a photo ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot and will have until noon Friday to present an acceptable form of ID to the county’s voter registrar’s office. Find your polling place [Where Do I Vote?] and more information on voting at loudoun.gov/vote.

Follow Election Day coverage at LoudounNow.com.

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