- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2011

In sleepy late August, politics is far from the minds of many residents of the D.C. area. But Virginia voters will nonetheless head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections to select candidates in November’s General Assembly races.

Three House of Delegates and six state Senate primaries are slated for districts encompassing parts of Northern Virginia — but Fairfax County registrar Edgardo Cortes said a double-digit turnout would be fortunate.

“Primaries in general tend to be low-turnout affairs, and the fact that this year the primary got moved from June to August … it’s not the usual time of year that we have primaries,” he said. “So I think that will affect turnout.”

The General Assembly scheduled its primaries for later in the summer this year because lawmakers were tasked with the once-a-decade process of redrawing the state’s 140 legislative districts based on new population figures from the U.S. Census.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the primaries, which will serve as a warm-up for the general election in November. Republicans are expected to retain their hold on the House of Delegates, where they currently have 59 of 100 seats, and will try to pick up two Senate seats to give the GOP an effective majority in the General Assembly’s upper chamber. Democrats currently hold a 22-18 majority.

In Northern Virginia, voters will choose candidates in four Republican Senate primaries. Among them, former Delegate Dick Black, Prince William County Supervisor John Stirrup and deputy Prince William clerk Bob FitzSimmonds will vie for the Republican nomination in the newly created 13th District, made up of parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Also in play is the 36th District primary, which stretches from Fairfax to Stafford County, in which former Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick faces off against Tito Munoz, who rose to fame after being dubbed “Tito the Builder” by Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate, at a 2008 rally.

The race for the seat of retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington Democrat, between Jaime Areizaga-Soto and Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola has been particularly heated. Mr. Areizaga-Soto has hit Mrs. Favola for accepting contributions from developers, and Mrs. Favola’s campaign commissioned a poll that identified Mr. Areizaga-Soto as a Republican before pulling it and calling it a “clerical error.”

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