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“But even though the district is still Republican-leaning, Mr. Black’s pitch may not resonate anymore with residents in one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

“It seems to me that Dick Black is rather more conservative than the district as a whole,” said retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington Democrat and chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “His appeal, I think, would be to a smaller portion of the electorate, and obviously that would benefit our candidate.”

Indeed, Mr. Black’s notoriety has not translated to dollars thus far. He raised just over $22,000 in the second quarter of this year, while another of his opponents, Prince William County Supervisor John T. Stirrup, raised more than $100,000. Mr. Stirrup also enjoys the endorsements of Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, for whom he served as chief of staff during Mr. Coburn’s days in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the national conservative group Citizens United, among others.

Mr. Stirrup was instrumental in helping draft — and pass — Prince William County’s controversial 2007 crackdown on illegal immigration, which remains a provocative issue in the district. The county last week sued the Department of Homeland Security demanding the dispositions of the more than 4,000 illegal immigrants it has turned over to the federal government since 2008.

“It’s a consistent top three or so” with voters, Mr. Stirrup said of the issue. “Definitely, illegal immigration is a hot-button item, particularly in Loudoun County,” he said. “I think people are certainly focused on the economy, but it’s resonated with voters that I took a very proactive stance on illegal immigration when a lot of other folks stood back.”

The only Democratic candidate to have stepped forward is Shawn Mitchell, a combat veteran who owns and operates an Ashburn, Va.-based small business. “Really for me, as a small business owner and a homeowner, I’m invested in my community,” Mr. Mitchell said. “I just felt that [my opponents] would not provide the strong leadership and business background that we need in Richmond.”

While the new district skews Republican, Mrs. Whipple said the race was winnable with the right candidate, “and that’s one of the reasons we’re excited about Shawn Mitchell. He’s just a good fit for that district.”

“Keep an eye on that 13th District,” she said. “I think it’s going to be real interesting.”