WASHINGTON - Polls for Virginia's primary will be open until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Some experts say the primary could turn into a protest vote.
Much of the primary season has focused on the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Analysts give the edge to former Sen. George Allen, but Prince William County Delegate Bob Marshall, Tea Party favorite Jamie Radtke and E.W. Jackson Sr. have been hammering Allen from the right. Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine already has the Democratic nomination.
The only Northern Virginia incumbent facing a primary challenge is 8th District Rep. Jim Moran, a Democrat. His challenger is former Navy officer and businessman Bruce Shuttleworth.
Virginia is considered one of the battleground states in the presidential election.
While Republican Mitt Romney already won the state's GOP presidential primary in March, University of Mary Washington Professor Stephen Farnsworth says there is motivation for voters to go to the polls.
"How big is there an anti-Allen protest vote? How big is there an anti-Jim Moran protest vote? These are the decisions that people are left with at this point," he says.
There also is a primary for the GOP nomination in the 11th District centered on Fairfax and Prince William counties, where retired army Col. Chris Perkins and traffic engineer Ken Vaughn are facing off. The winner there will battle incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly in November.
Farnsworth says a better indication of voter impact will be in Alexandria, where 14 Democrats are trying to get nominated to run for six city council seats. It's the first Democratic primary in the city since 1962.
"This is where your impact as a voter can be the greatest - when you're looking at one of these races where people are really competing for control of the city in Alexandria," Farnsworth says.
The race has been dominated by debate over affordable housing and the city's contentious redevelopment plans. The issues candidates have been campaigning on include redevelopment of the waterfront, the gentrification of Arlandria and the redevelopment of the Beauregard area near the Mark Center.
John Taylor Chapman
Melissa Diane Feld
Donna L. Fossum
Michael A. Hepburn
Sean T. Holihan
Timothy B. Lovain
Victoria A. Menjivar
Sammie E. Moshenberg
Arthur E. Peabody
Redella S. "Del" Pepper (Incumbent)
Paul C. Smedberg (Incumbent)
Boyd W. Walker
Justin M. Wilson
Voters in Alexandria will have a choice - either to cast their ballots by machine or by a paper ballot.
Because paper ballots are being used, the results of the primary may not be known for at least two hours. Results will be driven to election headquarters from every precinct.
The winners will then go on to November's general election.
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