Primary day features competitive contests in Virginia

RICHMOND (WWBT) - Tuesday is primary day in Virginia, and in many cases tomorrow's races may be a tougher test for the candidates than in the fall election.

A few heavily contested races in Central Virginia could ultimately decide who is headed to the State Capitol in January.

Take for instances the vast 22nd Senate District, which is newly drawn and encompasses parts of 8 counties and 1 city, including nearby Goochland and Louisa. It is filled with republican voters.

As a result 5 different GOP candidates have jumped into the primary race, hoping a win tomorrow will get them a direct ticket to Richmond. The winner will face democrat Bert Dotson, but would be considered the favorite in the general election.

Among them, current Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett and Richmond Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Rhode

Combined, the candidates in this primary have spent a whopping $371,675.

Also on the primary docket tomorrow, a race with only four voters. It is the race to replace Bill Janis in the House of Delegates.

With Janis' late decision to run for Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney, his spot on the republican ballot will be decided by the county chairmen in the four counties that make up district 56.

Spotsylvania's Steve Thomas is one of the candidates and admits the process is unconventional.

"It is the most bizarre campaigns I have ever seen," said Thomas. "And I have been in politics for a little bit."

Thomas and as many as 4 other announced and rumored candidates will get 10 minutes to state their case to the committee before they pick the nominee. Dr David Bratt, a economics professor from Randolph Macon College is also running.

"You present yourself in the most positive way and you let the chips fall where they fall," Bratt said of the process.

And with no democrat currently in the race, it is quite possible that this four person group will pick the next delegate from the 56th district.

Every single primary race in Virginia is listed on,

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.