Virginians vote in primary elections Tuesday; here’s a guide to help

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you exclusively watch or read national news, it would be easy to think the next election fight will play out over the next year and half ahead of the 2020 presidential race.  The focus of Virginia politicians, however, is much more immediate: on elections later this year that could have a more direct impact on the daily lives of Virginians.

In November, all 140 seats in Virginia's General Assembly are up for election, and with Republicans holding a two-seat margin in both chambers, the balance of power at the State Capitol is up for grabs.

Before the General Election, both parties are holding several primary elections to determine who will represent their side moving forward. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

Under state election law, local political parties can choose to nominate their candidate by other means, such as party conventions, so some districts with contested nominations will not hold a primary, such as the Republican nomination in House district 97 (Hanover).

Statewide, there are 16 State Senate primary elections, 11 Democrat and five Republican, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.  Five of them involve districts in Central Virginia.  There are 19 House of Delegates primaries statewide, 12 Democrat and seven Republican, according the Virginia  Department of Elections.  Two of them involve districts near metro-Richmond.

Primary day this year is Tuesday, June 11, and in order to get you the information you need before heading to the polls, CBS 6 has compiled this primary election guide with information and resources on each local race.  The deadline to register to vote in the primary is May 20.

More information on registering to vote can be found here.

State Senate District 10 (portions of Chesterfield and Richmond and all of Powhatan)

The Democratic primary includes three candidates:

  • Ghazala Hashmi is the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College.
  • Eileen Bedell is a local attorney and challenged then Congressman Dave Brat (R) in 2016 in the 7th Congressional District race.
  • Zachary Brown is a community organizer and activist.

The nominee will challenge incumbent Republican Senator Glen Sturtevant, a lawyer and former member of the Richmond School Board who was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2016.

Sturtevant holds a major money lead over all three Democrats, with Ghazala posting the highest fundraising total among them, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).  In 2015, Sturtevant won the seat by a margin of less than two percentage points.

State Senate District 11 (portions of Chesterfield and all of Colonial Heights and Amelia)

The Democratic primary includes two candidates:

  • Amanda Pohl is a non-profit professional, adjunct professor, and former chaplain at Chippenham hospital.
  • Wayne Powell, a lawyer and former Army intelligence officer, ran against current Senator Amanda Chase (R) in 2015 and challenged then Congressman Eric Cantor (R) in 2012.

The winner of the Pohl-Powell primary will challenge incumbent Republican Senator Amanda Chase, who is a small business owner and local AM radio host.  Chase was recently involved in a heated dispute with a Virginia Capitol Police officer over a parking space. Chase holds a significant fundraising lead over both Democrats, according to VPAP.  Chase defeated Powell by 11,733 votes in 2015 to win the seat.

State Senate District 12 (portions of both Henrico and Hanover)

The Democratic Primary includes two candidates:

  • Delegate Debra Rodman, an anthropology professor at Randolph Macon College, currently represents in the 73rd district in the House of Delegates but decided to run for state Senate.
  • Veena Lothe is labor and immigration attorney.

Either Rodman or Lothe will challenge incumbent Republican Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, who is private practice OB-GYN doctor.  Rodman holds the fundraising lead over both her primary opponent Lothe and Dunnavant, VPAP reports.  Dunnavant won her seat in 2015 by 8,707 votes.

State Senate District 16 (portions of Chesterfield, Prince George, and Richmond, and all of Petersburg, Hopewell, and Dinwiddie)

The Democratic primary, possibly the most high-profile race in the entire state, includes two candidates:

  • Incumbent Democratic Senator Rosalyn Dance has represented the district since 2014, and was a member of the House of Delegates and elected city official in Petersburg for many year prior to that.
  • Joe Morrissey, a controversial and bombastic figure in Richmond, is a disbarred lawyer, former delegate, and former Richmond mayoral candidate.

The winner of the primary will likely not face a challenger in November since Republicans have yet to offer a nominee in the General Election.  Dance defeated Morrissey soundly for the same seat back in 2015 after Morrissey withdrew from the race because of health concerns.  Dance has raised $234,263 while Morrissey is reporting zero fundraising dollars currently, according to VPAP.

State Senate District 17 (All of Orange County and portions of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Albemarle, and Louisa)

Both Republicans and Democrats are holding primaries on June 11 in this district.

The Republican primary includes two candidates:

  • Incumbent Republican Senator Bryce Reeves has represented the district since 2011, and is a retired Army Ranger, police officer, and small business owner.
  • Rich Breeden is an Air Force veteran and current businessman.

The Democratic primary includes two candidates:

  • Amy Laufer is the founder of Virginia's List, a group supporting democratic women running for office, and former school teacher.
  • Ben Hixon is the chairman of the Democratic Party of Culpepper and challenged Delegate Nick Freitas for the 30th House district seat in 2017.

The incumbent Reeves looks to stave off his primary challenger and then win back his seat, which he won easily in 2015.  Reeves holds a more than 8-1 lead in fundraising dollars compared to the next closest candidate in either primary, which is Laufter with a $101, 405, VPAP reports.

House of Delegates District 62 (parts of Chesterfield, Henrico, Prince George, and Hopewell)

There are two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination:

  • Lindsey Dougherty is public sector worker currently working as a Budget and Management Analyst for Chesterfield County.
  • Tavorise Marks is an Army Military Officer with the U.S. Army reserves and a licensed insurance agent who lost a primary race in the same district in 2017.

Delegate Riley Ingram, who has represented the district since 2007, is retiring, which leaves his seat open.  Either Dougherty or Marks will square off in November against Republican nominee Carrie Coyner, a current member of the Chesterfield County School Board and an attorney.  Coyner has raised nearly $120,000 more than both Doughtery and Marks combined, according to VPAP.

House District 68  (portions of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond)

Two Republicans are running for their party nomination in district 68:

  • Garrison Coward is a millennial and the COO of a local data analytics firm.
  • Lori Losi is a CPA and former small business owner.

Coward or Losi will face incumbent Democratic Delegate Dawn Adams, a health care professional and advocate, in November.   Adams won the seat in the 2017 "blue wave" in the House by defeating Republican Manoli Loupassi by only 336 votes.  Adams fundraising total more than doubles Coward, the next closest candidate money-wise, VPAP reports.  Although, both GOP candidates have posted decent fundraising totals.

Local Primary Races

In November, county and city leadership seats across Virginia will also be on the ballot.  Several local parties are also hosting primary elections on June 11th.  We wanted to run through a list of them too.

Henrico County Board of Supervisor, Fairfield District - Democratic Primary

Henrico Board of Supervisors, Three Chopt District - Republican Primary

Henrico County Sheriff - Democratic Primary

Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, Matoaca District - Republican Primary

Hanover County Board of Supervisors, Beaverdam District - Republican Primary

Hanover County Board of Supervisors, Chickahominy District - Republican Primary

Hanover County Board of Supervisors, Cold Harbor District - Republican Primary

Hanover County Board of Supervisors, Mechanicsville District - Republican Primary

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