RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Voters head to the polls for Tuesday's primary to decide which candidates will face off for congressional and Senate seats in November. All eyes are on these races to see if the Democratic wave that started last November continues to turn the tide this year.
Political analysts say the primaries and midterm election in November are expected to reflect how voters think President Trump is doing. They say with more women candidates this year, issues important to women will be major factors.
One of the hottest races is for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine. The Republicans are Corey Stewart, Nick Freitas and E.W. Jackson.
"I think it's in some ways a bit of a thermometer about how Republicans in the state of Virginia are going to either embrace or move away from the President, because Corey Stewart has embedded himself and wrapped his arms around the administration," said NBC12 Political Analyst and VCU professor Dr. Deirdre Condit.
Among congressional races, District Seven is among the most heated. A year ago, five women and one man entered the Democratic primary to face Republican incumbent Congressman Dave Brat, but the list has since been whittled down.
One of those women, Helen Alli, has switched to running with the Whig Party. The Democratic primary is a competitive race now between Abigail Spanberger and Dan Ward.
"Abigail Spanberger has a base of support that's very different than Dan Ward has," said Condit. "Part of it is because of the opponent. Dave Brat has been famously troubled when it comes to dealing with moderate women's issues and certainly women's issues overall."
In District One, which includes Carolina County, Democrats Edwin Santana, John Suddarth and Vangie Williams are running for the nomination to face Republican incumbent Rob Wittman.
No Republicans filed to run in District Three, which runs from south Richmond to Newport News, leaving Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott runs unopposed in November.
The District Four congressional seat, including Chesterfield and Powhatan, is currently held by Democrat Don McEachin. Two Republicans are vying for the nomination: Ryan McAdams and Shion Fenty.
If Fenty were to win the primary, reflected Condit, "I think she brings something very different to the Republican Party than the state of Virginia Republicans are accustomed to. I think she brings an interesting potential challenge to McEachin, on issues he's been able to own comfortably."
Two other congressional races in Virginia will also be closely watched.
Republican Congressman Tom Garrett has announced he will not seek re-election in District Five, which includes Charlottesville, as he battles alcoholism. Democrat Leslie Cockburn will face Republican Denver Riggleman.
In northern Virginia's District Ten, six candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination while Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock faces Shak Hill in the primary.
Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Photo identification will be required.
The Department of Elections website can help you find your poll and what's on your ballot.
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