Primary elections for the Democratic and Republican parties will be held on June 23, 2020. They were originally scheduled for June 9, but have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Off on a Tangent is making recommendations to party primary voters in each contested state- and federal-level primary race in Virginia. Primaries for the office of president were held earlier in the year and were reviewed in a separate article.

Political parties are private organizations that should not have any official standing in our political system, but Democratic and Republican primaries are held by the Virginia Department of Elections and are funded by Virginia taxpayers. The purpose of a party primary should be for members of that party to choose who will represent them on the general election ballot. Virginia, however, has an “open primary” system where any registered voter may vote in any one (but not more than one) primary each year.

This series of recommendations only applies to taxpayer-funded primaries. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are making some of their nominations at party conventions. The Libertarian Party, which currently qualifies as a major party under the Tangent style guide (section 10.70), nominates its candidates in party conventions.


Democratic Party Primaries

Democratic Party

Contested Democratic Party primary races are being held for four of Virginia’s eleven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Representatives serve two-year terms and there are no term limits. Elections are held every two years. Currently, the Democratic Party holds seven of Virginia’s House seats and the Republican Party holds four.

U.S. House of Representatives

  • 1st District: Qasim Rashid and Vangie Williams stand as 1st District candidates to challenge incumbent Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA 1st). I recommend voting for Vangie Williams.
  • 4th District: Incumbent Representative Donald McEachin (D-VA 4th) is challenged by Cazel Levine. I recommend voting for Cazel Levine.
  • 5th District: R. D. Huffstetler, John Lesinski, Claire Russo, and Cameron Webb stand as 5th District candidates to challenge incumbent Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA 5th). I make no recommendation.
  • 11th District: Incumbent Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11th) is challenged by Zainab Mohsini. I make no recommendation.

Republican Party Primaries

Republican Party

Contested Republican Party primary races are being held for the U.S. Senate and two of Virginia’s eleven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senators serve six year terms and there are no term limits. Elections are held on a staggered schedule, with one of the three classes of senators up for election every two years. Virginia has senators in the first and second classes, and the Democratic Party holds both seats. This year’s election is for the second class seat.

Representatives serve two-year terms and there are no term limits. Elections are held every two years. Currently, the Republican Party holds four of Virginia’s House seats and the Democratic Party holds seven.

U.S. Senate

  • Alissa Baldwin, Daniel Gade, and Thomas Speciale stand as candidates to challenge incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). I recommend voting for Daniel Gade.

U.S. House of Representatives

  • 2nd District: Jarome Bell, Ben Loyola, and former Representative Scott Taylor (R-VA 2nd) stand as candidates to challenge incumbent Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA 2nd). I recommend voting for Jarome Bell.
  • 3rd District: John Collick, Madison Downs, and George Yacus stand as candidates to challenge Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA 3rd). I recommend voting for John Collick.

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