Va. voters decide key congressional primary races that could tip balance of power

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Eugene Vindman came out on top in the closely watched Democratic primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District on Tuesday night in the race for a seat that opened up after Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger announced she’d be stepping away from the seat in order to run for governor next year.

Vindman will face off against Derrick Anderson, a former Army Green Beret who emerged victorious on the Republican side.

Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton is leaving the job due to health issues in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. There, state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam came out on top in a crowded field and will be the favorite to replace Wexton in the blue district in November. Subramanyam will face lawyer and business executive Mike Clancy, who won Tuesday’s GOP primary.

In the Republican Senate primary, Hung Cao notched the first victory Tuesday night in Virginia’s primary elections, besting four other candidates and earning the chance to challenge Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November.

The contests, which Virginia voters decided Tuesday, could contribute to a drastic shift in the balance of power in Congress in the fall.

Polls closed on these critical races, as well as local contests across the state, at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

Vindman wins Democratic nod in Va.’s 7th, will face GOP’s Anderson

Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Culpeper counties, is up for grabs after Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s decision to step away from the seat to run for governor next year. The district is considered to lean blue, but Republicans believe they have a shot to flip the seat.

Seven Democrats were vying for the nomination Tuesday, none of which Spanberger endorsed. As far as fundraising, career military officer Eugene Vindman led the pack with more than $5 million raised for his campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. No other candidate raised more than $400,000. The Associated Press called the race for Vindman just after 8 p.m. with 51.5% of the vote at the time of the call.

Vindman’s main opposition in the primary was state Del. Briana Sewell and former state Del. Elizabeth Guzman, according to political analyst Chaz Nuttycombe.

Other Democratic candidates included Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey, lawyer and Army veteran Carl Bedell, Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Angela Franklin, and Army veteran and former U.S. State Department official Cliff Heinzer.

On the Republican side, Nuttycombe said Derrick Anderson was the favorite among a field of six candidates. The Associated Press called the race in favor of Anderson around 9 p.m., at which time he had 46.1% of the vote to Navy SEAL veteran and Homeland Security official Cameron Hamilton’s 36.6%.

The field also included ordained minister and White House appointee Terris Todd, entrepreneur John Prabhudoss, retired Marine Jonathon Paul Myers, and entrepreneur and author Maria Martin.

Hung Cao wins Republican Senate primary in convincing fashion

Republicans in the Commonwealth also had a critical choice to make regarding which candidate will challenge Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November.

Virginia has not elected a Republican U.S. Senator since 2002, but there has been recent Republican success in a statewide election, with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s victory in 2021.

Five Republican candidates entered the running to take on Kaine, with Navy veteran Hung Cao earning a convincing victory. The Associated Press called the race in favor of Cao less than 30 minutes after polls closed Tuesday.

At the time of the race call, Cao had 65.6% of the vote. Army veteran Eddie Garcia had the next closest share of the vote with 10.8%.

Other hopefuls included former DeSantis congressional staffer Scott Parkinson, lawyer Jonathan Emord and Marine veteran and attorney Chuck Smith.

Subramanyam wins Democratic nomination in crowded District 10 field

A change is also coming in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, which covers Fauquier and Loudoun counties, parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

There, Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton announced she’s leaving the job due to health issues. The district is blue, but a competitive and deep field of 12 Democrats formed to replace Wexton:

  • Jennifer Boysko — Virginia state senator
  • Marion Devoe Sr. — Former chief operations officer for the White House Executive Office
  • Eileen Filler-Corn — Former speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
  • Dan Helmer — Virginia delegate
  • Krystle Kaul — Educator and former senior defense official
  • Mark Leighton — Librarian and administrative faculty at George Mason Law Library
  • Michelle Maldonado — Virginia delegate
  • Travis Nembhard — Lawyer and former assistant attorney general
  • Atif Qarni — Marine Corps veteran and former Virginia secretary of education
  • David Reid — Virginia delegate
  • Suhas Subramanyam — Virginia state senator
  • Adrian Pokharel — retired Army captain and former NSA and CIA intelligence officer

The Associated Press called the race in favor of Subramanyam at 9:15 p.m. with 30.3% of the vote to Helmer’s 26.6% at that time. Qarni was the next closest candidate with 10.7%.

Republicans in Virginia’s 10th District had the choice between four candidates — government contractor Manga Anantatmula, retired Army officer Alex Isaac, lawyer and business executive Mike Clancy, and Marine Corps veteran and Youngkin administration official Aliscia Andrews.

The Associated Press called the GOP District 10 contest at 7:41 p.m. in favor of Clancy, who had 61.4% of the vote at the time of the call.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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