(DC News Now) — The 2022 primary election kicked off Tuesday for Virginia and Washington, DC. Here is what happened.
Democrat Don Beyer and Republican Ben Cline highlighted a night where all 11 incumbent members of Congress in Virginia advanced to the November general election.
But the main attraction was the Republican primary in the 7th Congressional District, where six Republicans attempted to earn the chance to face incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger in one of the nation’s most competitive districts.
Yesli Vega, a former police officer in Alexandria City and Manassas Park, and current Prince William County Supervisor, is the projected winner in the race.
Beyer, who has represented the 8th Congressional District since 2015, defended his seat against Democratic challenger Victoria Virasingh.
Following the Associated Press’s projection of Beyer’s victory, he tweeted a statement thanking Virasingh “for her spirited challenge, and for her commitment to progressive ideals we both share.” He then continued calling this “a challenging moment for the Democratic Party” and saying voters face a “stark contrast” on the issues of climate change, health care, gun violence, and a woman’s right to choose.
One of his two November opponents is Karina Lipsman, who released a statement saying she’s looking forward to “a civil and respectful campaign.” She also challenged Beyer to five debates that include the topics of defense and national security, inflation, energy, education, and immigration.
Independent Teddy Fikre will also appear on the ballot alongside Lipsman and Beyer.
Cline defended his 6th District seat, defeating Merritt Hale in the Republican primary. He will face Democrat Jennifer Lewis and Independent Danny LeBreau in November.
Two of Northern Virginia’s Democrats in Congress, 10th District Rep. Jennifer Wexton and 11th District Rep. Gerry Connolly, went unopposed and will be on the November ballot.
The District of Columbia Board of Elections said 63,000 people voted early for the 2022 primary election. 400,000 District residents were eligible to vote in the election, and 90 polling places were open across the city from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The ballot was full of highly contested races. These include the Mayor, Congressional representative, Attorney General, Council Chair and multiple Council seats. One of the most closely watched races, the race for Mayor, was called for Incumbent Muriel Bowser by the Associated Press less than half an hour after polls closed.
Mayor Muriel Bowser faced three Democrats in the Primary: At-Large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White and James Butler. At the time the race was called, Mayor Bowser held over 50 percent of the vote, about 10,000 votes ahead of Robert White.
Robert White and Mayor Bowser faced off in multiple debates prior to the election, and the competition went past the debates into campaign ads targeted toward one another. At the White watch party, Robert White walked in with a smile on his face to a crowd of supporters cheering for him. This happened about 15 minutes after AP called the race.
The first thing White did was congratulate Bowser on the win. He said he hopes to work with her in the future. Additionally, he said he hopes Bowser will focus on a comprehensive public safety plan for the city and strengthening education for Black and brown students.
White said he does not currently have plans to run for Mayor in the future, but his wife, Christy, said she hopes their family is in the same place in four years, with a better outcome.