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Politics

Democratic Primary is Today

Get out there and participate in electing your political leaders.

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The Republicans have already tapped Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer with a ton of cash as the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Today it’s the Democrat’s turn to pick their candidate for Governor and other officials.

Five candidates are competing for the nomination as governor in Tuesday’s primary, with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe seen as the heavy favorite. McAuliffe’s opponents include state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will get to vote. Voters heading to the polls on Tuesday are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, although it is not required.

Not sure where your polling location is or if you’re registered go here to get the information.

Full list of statewide candidates

Governor

Five Democrats are vying for the nomination to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam, who is limited to one term:

Lieutenant Governor

Seven Democrats are running to succeed Justin Fairfax:

Attorney General

Del. Jerrauld C. ‘Jay’ Jones takes on incumbent Mark R. Herring.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

Governor’s race draws $11 million total in first-quarter fundraising

The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports. 

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By Noah Fleischman

The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports.

The candidates had more than $18 million in cash on hand in the first quarter, according to finance report data reported by the Virginia Public Access Project. Cash on hand is tracked as accessible money and in-kind donations, which include non-cash gifts such as goods, services and expertise.

Four candidates running for governor each logged more than $2 million in cash on hand.

Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said it’s uncommon to have that many candidates with large amounts of money on hand.

“It’s rare to have that many people running for governor,” Farnsworth said. “And it’s even rarer still for there to be so many candidates with bank accounts at that level.”

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had the largest war chest of any candidate, clocking in with more than $8.5 million cash on hand. Republican candidates and businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder trailed McAuliffe with just over $3.6 million and $2.6 million cash on hand, respectively.

McAuliffe also led all candidates in the most money raised from January to March, bringing in more than $4.1 million. Reported loans and in-kind donations are not included in cash raised totals reported by Capital News Service.

“He’s the only candidate who has been governor previously,” Farnsworth said of the advantage McAuliffe has in the Democratic race. “He has experience in statewide elections, as well as with the national Democratic Party, which has created a lot of fundraising opportunities.”

Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, rounded out the top four candidates, with more than $2.3 million cash on hand. She trailed Youngkin and McAuliffe and ranked third in fundraising in the first quarter, logging more than $1.8 million. Carroll Foy edged out Snyder, who raised over $1.3 million.

Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, reported more than $321,000 cash on hand and Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, recorded just over $205,000. Cox ranked third in fundraising for Republicans, bringing in more than $376,000, while Chase logged more than $116,000 in donations.

Republican candidate Sergio de la Pena, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, checked in between Cox and Chase, raising more than $202,000.

Candidates serving in the General Assembly could not start fundraising until the session ended.

Farnsworth also said Democratic candidates have more cash on hand because the party is holding a primary, unlike the Republicans, who are using a convention to nominate a candidate.

“The Democrats are going with a primary, which involves a great deal of effort to connect with voters across the commonwealth,” Farnsworth said. “When you’re running in a convention, money may be less important.

Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, logged just over $100,000 cash on hand and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had just shy of $100,000. Carter raised more than $154,000 with over $93,000 of it from cash donations of $100 or less. Fairfax raised almost $27,000.

In the lieutenant governor race, Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, led the pack of 13 candidates with more than $960,000 cash on hand. Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, followed Rasoul with just north of $605,000 on hand.

Rasoul also edged out his Democrat opponents in fundraising with over $620,000, followed by Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan who brought in over $365,00.

Two former Republican delegates are vying for lieutenant governor and both started without cash on hand in January. Winsome Sears, a former Republican delegate from Winchester, outraised former Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, in the quarter, recording more than $160,000 in donations. Hugo brought in over $103,000.

Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat vying for his third term in the position, led the six candidates. He reported more than $1.3 million cash on hand. Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, recorded just over $1 million, second-most of the candidates.

Herring outraised Jones in the first quarter as well, logging more than $624,000, while Jones raised more than $456,000.

Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, logged the most of the four Republican attorney general candidates, with more than $429,000 cash on hand. Miyares raised more than $190,000 in the first quarter. He is trailed by Republican contender Jack White, who raised over $153,00. White is an ordained minister and Army veteran.

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Downtown

Mayor Stoney claims victory, Councilwoman Gray concedes in Richmond mayoral race as unofficial results show widening lead

Stoney currently leads the popular vote by about 32,000 ballots with 38% of the vote, winning Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Results still need to be certified.

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Incumbent mayor Levar Stoney claimed victory in his bid for reelection Wednesday during a news conference. With just over 100,000 ballots counted, unofficial results show Stoney taking six of nine council districts – more than the five needed to secure a win and avoid a runoff with the second runner up. Right now, Councilwoman Kimberly Gray and Alexsis Rodgers are neck and neck for second place with approximately 26% of the vote each.

Stoney currently leads the popular vote by about 32,000 ballots with 38% of the vote, winning Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Results may not be certified until early next week, according to the city registrar.

Stoney declared victory in a tweet thanking supporters on Wednesday, while Gray gave a concession-type statement via test message to VPM reporter Roberto Roldan. Rodgers, meanwhile, refused to concede, citing thousands of ballots that still need to be counted.

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Government

Spanberger declares victory in close Congressional race; Freitas waits

Democratic congresswoman Abigail Spanberger declared victory Wednesday over Republican Del. Nick Freitas in the tight 7th District U.S. House of Representatives race, though some absentee ballots remain uncounted.

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By Anya Sczerzenie 

Democratic congresswoman Abigail Spanberger declared victory Wednesday over Republican Del. Nick Freitas in the tight 7th District U.S. House of Representatives race, though some absentee ballots remain uncounted.

The reporting of absentee ballots from Henrico and Spotsylvania counties late afternoon Wednesday pushed Spanberger into a slim lead. Spanberger had won 50.5% of votes, while Freitas secured 49.4% of votes, according to The Virginia Public Access Project. Spanberger was leading Freitas Wednesday evening by 5,134 votes and as many as 5,269 additional absentee ballots still could factor into the race.

Spanberger, who just hours earlier has released a video on social media calling for patience through the process, declared victory after the boost in votes. She said she looked forward to continuing her work in Congress.

“Tonight, the Seventh District affirmed its commitment to leadership in Congress that puts Central Virginia first, works for everyone, and focuses on expanding opportunity for the next generation of Virginians,” Spanberger said in the press release.

Freitas said his campaign will make an official statement Friday when all votes are tallied, out of respect for the race.

Spanberger addressed her district in a Facebook Live speech shortly after declaring victory, in which she underlined her commitment to several issues. She promised to work on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, extending broadband internet coverage to rural areas, and protecting Americans from foreign hacking.

“I said I would find common ground, and I said I would hold my ground if necessary,” Spanberger said, “and I believe I have done just that.”

This victory would clinch a second term in a district that only recently turned blue in 2018 when Spanberger, a former CIA agent, beat David Brat.

Freitas is an Army veteran and member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing Orange, Culpeper and Madison counties. He is seeking his first term in Congress. Freitas first won a House seat in 2015. He kept his seat in a write-in campaign in 2019 and then weeks later he announced his bid for the 7th District. Freitas’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 “The first issue Abigail Spanberger will work on is COVID-19,” said Connor Joseph, a spokesperson for Spanberger’s campaign. “Every issue is through the lens of COVID-19.”

Joseph said Spanberger plans to increase broadband internet access to rural communities, and emphasized the need for it during a pandemic where school and work often take place online.

The race was closely watched and predicted. Politico rated the race a “toss up” just before the election. The University of Virginia Center for Politics thought Spanberger might perform better than Biden in her district and said her two-years of experience might help.

Spanberger, who grew up in the same district she currently represents, is rated a moderate Democrat. She often touts a focus on bipartisanship. In October, Spanberger voted against the second HEROES Act—a coronavirus relief package endorsed by Democrats—and wrote in a press release that she found the bill too partisan. She is a member of the “March to Common Ground” caucus, which is working to draft a bipartisan COVID-19 relief plan.

Freitas is a conservative Republican who supports gun rights. He has been described as having a “conservative voting record and a libertarian streak” by the Associated Press. Freitas sponsored a resolution during the pandemic that would have allowed the legislature to vote on any state of emergency declarations made by the governor that last longer than seven days, but the measure didn’t advance. Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in March, and it remains in place.

The 7th District now leans more Democrat with the 2016 removal of Hanover County, home to primarily Republican voters. It encompasses both suburban and more rural precincts, including Henrico and Chesterfield counties and also Spotsylvania and Louisa counties. The voter profile is 72% white and 19% Black, according to VPAP.

The race injected more cash into broadcast and cable TV advertising than the presidential race, a significant amount of money for a two-year seat. Around $15 million was spent on TV attack ads, according to VPAP. Spanberger spent more than the Freitas campaign. Spanberger ads mostly focused on Freitas voting records, while Freitas ads delved into Spanberger’s CIA past and attempted to make a negative association with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The final count of remaining absentee ballots will be announced Friday at the earliest. Pundits often note that absentee ballots are often cast by Democrats, while Election Day returns lean more Republican.

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