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A preview of Tuesday's primary elections in Virginia


Tuesday is Election Day in Virginia. Voters in five congressional districts will be selecting candidates, plus a handful of local elections will also be on the ballot.

Democrats have only one primary; up in northern Virginia, where incumbent Congressman Don Beyer has a challenger.

Most of the primaries will be for Republican voters. Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says voters have a chance to determine the direction of the GOP.

"Some of these candidates are sort of wrapping themselves in the code of Donald Trump, and others are trying to keep some distance from Donald Trump," Kidd says. "And I think it'll say a lot about where the Republican Party in Virginia is going or where it might be thinking it's going as we approach the fall elections and then further on."

Incumbent Republican Congressman Ben Cline has a primary challenger. And Republicans will be selecting candidates to go up against Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria and Bobby Scott.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says the one to watch is the primary for the 7th Congressional District, where six candidates will be trying to get the nomination to take on Spanberger.

"Virginia's 7th District will be one of the most closely watched districts in the entire country," Farnsworth explains. "Not only because it's just outside Washington and the national media will pay it a lot of attention. But, the 7th District is exactly the kind of swing district that will help shape the partisan control of Congress after November."

All 11 of Virginia's congressional districts are new; the result of a redistricting process that started with a commission that ended in a deadlock – eventually leading to a series of court-drawn maps.

Polling places will be open from 6am to 7pm. Anyone in line at 7 will be allowed to cast a ballot. You can find more information here.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.