Democrats in the 8th Congressional District will head to the polls Tuesday to select their nominee for this fall’s congressional election.
This is the first time since 1990 that U.S. Rep. Jim Moran won’t be on the ballot. The congressman decided earlier this year not to seek re-election, generating a flurry of interest from sitting Democrats and others in the district, which is considered a safe bet for Democrats in the general election this fall.
The 8th District includes portions of eastern Fairfax County including Falls Church, Lincolnia, Springfield, Newington and Mount Vernon. It also includes Arlington County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church.
At least 11 candidates were once seeking the nomination but the pool has since dwindled to seven, with state Del. Charniele Herring, former Navy pilot Bruce Shuttleworth and engineering firm owner Satish Korpe most recently dropping out of the race.
Remaining on the June 10 primary ballot are Don Beyer, community organizer Laverne Chatman, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Arlington Del. Patrick Hope, Virginia Tech professor Derek Hyra, and talk radio host Mark Levine.
Beyer, a former lieuetenant governor and owner of a local car dealership chain that bears his name, remains the heavy favorite in Tuesday’s election, said Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“At this point, he’s raised a lot more money than any of his opponents and, at the end of the day, he has the most name recognition across the entire district,” Skelley said.
Beyer has raised more than $1.3 million over the course of the election cycle while most of the other Democrats have raised $250,000 to $400,000 apiece, according to campaign finance records.
Although the winner only needs to draw a plurality of votes to win, Skelley said that Beyer’s financial resources and name recognition both as a former state official and because of his business make it unlikely that the picture will change by Tuesday. In addition, there is very little difference in the candidates’ positions on the issues, he added.
“When one candidate has a lot more money and name recognition … it’s kind of hard to see there being any movement,” Skelley said.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Republican Micah Edmond, Libertarian Jeffrey Carson and independent Gwendolyn Beck in the general election this November.