Central Virginia republican primaries include incumbent challenge and six-way race for nomination

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Republican voters will be heading to the polls Tuesday, June 21, for primary elections across the commonwealth.

Two races in central Virginia are drawing national attention: 6th District Representative Ben Cline’s road to a third term has the incumbent facing off against challenger Merritt Hale, a political newcomer and former officer of the U.S. Navy.

UVA Center for Politics Analyst J. Miles Coleman says it could be an uphill battle for Hale.

“Cline is the, you know, he has Trump’s endorsement, Governor Younkin is very much behind him, as well. So you know, when when you have that type of institutional support, it is hard,” Coleman said.

Meanwhile, six people - Derrick Anderson, Gina Ciarcia, Bryce Reeves, David Ross, Crystal Vanuch, and Yesli Vega - are vying for the GOP’s spot to take on 7th District Representative Abigail Spanberger (D).

“It’s definitely going to be one one of those races where on election night it’s going to make for a pretty colorful map. So it’s kind of wide open. We’ll sort of reevaluate things perhaps after the after the primary,” Coleman said.

17th District Senator Reeves has the backing of major Virginia Republicans, like former-Governors Bob McDonnell and George Allen.

Newcomers Anderson and Vega boast the endorsement of well-known U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, respectfully.

Coleman says the race could come down to which candidate gets the most votes in their home area.

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