Primary voter turnout varies in Rappahannock County

Rappahannock County voting precincts saw varying levels of voter turnout Tuesday, as residents around the county cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primaries for Virginia’s governor and lieutenant governor.

A steady stream of primary voters showed up at the various polling stations in Rappahannock County on Tuesday, including here at the Washington firehouse. Photo by John McCaslin

A precinct worker in Sperryville reported a “steady stream” of residents casting ballots through mid-morning, counting approximately 70 voters.

By early afternoon in Amissville, voting official Kathy Frazier tallied 96 voters. “It’s picking up a little bit, but turnout isn’t quite as good as in a general election,” she said, calling the turnout “typical” for a primary election when voters tend to show up in the early morning, mid-day or after work.

Mid-afternoon in Washington, 167 people had come to the polls to vote — 92 of them Democrats, 75 of them Republican. Election officials called the turnout “average, if not a little more than average.”

At the Chester Gap polling place, around 46 people had voted by mid-afternoon, the numbers falling just a little shy of primary turnout in past years.

Although no local officials were up for election on this June’s ballot, it seems for the most part that most polling places had reached or exceeded voter turnout numbers from past years.

Statewide, according to the Washington Post: “Democrats turned out in far greater numbers than Republicans. About 540,000 voters cast ballots in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, while just over 360,000 voters cast ballots on the Republican side, with nearly all precincts reporting.”

Just after the polling places closed at 7 p.m., voting results started to come in.

Locally, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam won the Democratic nomination for governor, defeating former Rep. Tom Perriello 53 percent to 47 percent in Rappahannock County and 56 percent to 44 percent statewide.

Ed Gillespie won the Republican nomination by just over a percentage point statewide, receiving fewer than 4,500 more votes than challenger Corey Stewart. State Senator Frank Wagner finished the race in third.

In the lieutenant governor race, Justin Fairfax won the Democratic nomination with 49 percent of the vote, while Jill Vogel claimed the Republican nomination with 40 percent.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties served as important tests of each party’s direction in the wake of Trump-era politics. Political analysts saw the Democratic primary as an experiment in progressive populism (Perriello) versus more moderate, traditional liberalism (Northam).

Similarly, in the Republican primary, Gillespie served as the establishment candidate, while Stewart embraced more of President Trump’s ideology and “political outsider” strategy.

In both cases, the establishment candidates won out.

As the Northam and Gillespie camps celebrate, Kim McKiernan, Rappahannock Director of Elections, notes: “The results are unofficial until the state certifies them, which will be well after Friday. As results are called in, I upload them into the Department of Elections database, and then they are available online.”

About Monica Marciano 9 Articles
Monica Marciano is a rising second year at the University of Virginia from Front Royal, Va. She is the intern for Foothills Forum and Rappahannock News for the summer of 2017.