- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - Northern Virginia Republicans opted to run a firehouse primary to choose a nominee in the 10th Congressional District, where Republican Frank Wolf is retiring after 34 years.

A firehouse primary, also called a party canvass, means the party will run its own election at polling sites it designates throughout the district. It will be held April 26.

Party officials voted Thursday for the firehouse primary instead of a convention or state-run primary, and say it will allow their nominee to get an early start. Had they opted for a state-run primary, it would not have been held until June 10.

Eligibility rules to participate in the primary have not yet been determined, but John Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th District Republican Committee, said it’s likely that voters would be expected to sign a pledge indicating their intent to support the Republican nominee in November, as has been done in the past.

The race to succeed Wolf is expected to be highly competitive, and is considered one of Democrats’ best opportunities nationally to pick up a House seat. Del. Barbara Comstock, a former Wolf staffer, is the most prominent Republican to announce her candidacy, though others, including political consultant Stephen Hollingshead, have also announced bids.

Democrat John Foust, a Fairfax County supervisor, is also running for the seat.

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