WINCHESTER — Local election officials reported low voter turnout for Tuesday’s statewide Democratic primary to pick the party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Republicans selected their nominees during a May 8 convention.
Clarke County Voter Registrar Barbara Bosserman said turnout was “extremely slow and quiet.” She said primaries typically have a low turnout in Clarke County.
Early in-person voting began 45 days before the election and continued until June 5.
In Clarke County, 106 people voted early in-person and 145 ballots were mailed out. Mail-in ballots will be accepted until noon Friday as long as they are postmarked by June. 8.
In Winchester, 197 people voted early in-person and 165 ballots were mailed out. In Frederick County, 289 people voted early in-person and 510 ballots were mailed out.
There didn’t seem to be a consensus among area voters on the candidates they preferred.
The Democratic nominees for governor were former governor Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Del. Lee Carter.
Kyle Crosen voted for Foy at the Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart Elementary School polling location in Winchester. He said he wanted to support a “progressive individual.”
“I think it’s only right at this point that we get someone who is highly progressive to push the counterpoints to what the Republicans are doing right now and maybe to give the mainstream Democrats a run for their money,” Crosen said. “That’s a big issue for me right now. I’ve voted Democrat all of my life. I’m a registered independent, however, and I just don’t know that the Democrats are standing up enough for people like me. But the progressives are. So that’s where I’m leaning.”
He said he feels that a push for more moderate, centrist candidates by many Democrats isn’t helping the party get much accomplished. He said he believes the Republican Party will still obstruct legislation anyway. He said aiming for bipartisan support “is not working” and that Democrats “need to take control of what they have and push the agendas they need to push.”
“I’m tired of playing the middle of the road ‘well, I need bipartisan support’ to our own detriment,” Crosen said. “How long do we push for quote-unquote bipartisan support when at every stage, no matter what concessions Democrats make, Republicans are never satisfied. At what point do we say as a party, ‘We need to start doing what we need to do for the good of the people and the good of our economy as opposed to being beholden to a small faction of crazies basically that seem to have no understanding or bearing anymore of what reality really is or what truth is.’ I know politicians are known to lie, but this is getting out of control.”
While Crosen has frustrations with the Democratic Party, he said he will likely support the Democratic nominees is the Nov. 2 election because he does not like the Republican Party’s direction. In particular, Crosen called the unsubstantiated claims made by many Republicans, including former President Trump, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen “absolutely absurd”
Winchester resident Patricia Price voted for McClellan in large part because she wants to see women have more active roles in politics.
“I feel like they have a more sensitive viewpoint when they need to be sensitive and are more strong when they need to be strong,” Price said.
She said the most important issues to her are stopping gun violence and “the welfare of our children.”
Jennifer Coleman, who also voted at Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart, voted for Foy for governor and Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman for lieutenant governor.
The other nominees for lieutenant governor were Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Hala Ayala, Norfolk City Councilor Andria McClellan, businessman Xavier Warren and Del. Mark Levine.
“I chose two individuals that are people of color, specifically because we need more diversity in our government,” Coleman said. “They bring a unique voice that is missing and all of their policies included diversity and equality initiatives. I feel that’s important.”
Coleman said state politicians are paying minorities “lip service” but are not doing enough. She also said that white politicians cannot fully grasp the experiences of people of color.
“I feel like, personally, Virginia is more progressive than other states in the nation,” Coleman said. “And I would like to continue to see that positive progressive movement.”
At Christ Episcopal Church, city resident Eileen Mulcahy said she voted for McAuliffe because “he did a great job before and I have confidence in him.” She also voted for incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring based on his track record. He was challenged by Del. Jay Jones.
Mulcahy said the issues most important to her are increasing employment and having the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
K.L. Eckhardt, who also voted at the church, declined to say who she voted for, but said the most critical issue for her is to help the Democrats maintain the majority in the state government. Expanding voter access, fighting voter suppression efforts, affordable housing, job availability and fighting government corruption also are important to her.