Virginia Voters Choose Romney
Victory one of several for Romney on Super Tuesday
UPDATE: Patch will update this story with results from Virginia's precincts, as reported by the Virginia State Board of Elections. (Numbers do not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.)
Statewide: (99.57 percent reporting) 5.1 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 59.45 percent
Ron Paul: 40.54 percent
Alexandria: (100 percent reporting) 5.13 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 67.58 percent
Ron Paul: 32.41 percent
Arlington County: (100 percent reporting) 4.98 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 64.56 percent
Ron Paul: 35.43 percent
Fairfax City: (100 percent reporting) 6.67 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 60.33 percent
Ron Paul: 39.66 percent
Fairfax County: (97.9 percent reporting) (precincts not reporting have only absentee and provisional ballots) 5.35 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 65.08 percent
Ron Paul: 34.91 percent
Loudoun County: (100 percent reporting) 5.49 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 62.36 percent
Ron Paul: 37.63 percent
Prince William County: (100 percent reporting) 4.76 percent turnout
Mitt Romney: 60.81 percent
Ron Paul: 39.18 percent
Update - 9 p.m.:
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this evening regarding Governor Mitt Romney's primary win in Virginia.
"With today's victory in Virginia, Mitt Romney has again demonstrated that his bold and conservative plan to get spending under control, make government smaller and more efficient, and help the private sector create good paying jobs is resonating all across America," he said.
"He is winning primaries in every region of this country, from New Hampshire to Nevada, and today Governor Romney has added the Commonwealth of Virginia to the list. Voters know that Mitt Romney is a strong, principled, results-oriented conservative who will bring people together to get our economy back on track and Americans back to work. He is a leader. Mitt Romney has experience in both the private and the public sectors in providing the type of positive leadership that we desperately need in Washington. I look forward to doing all I can to help ensure that Mitt Romney is elected President this November, and we bring opportunity back to America."
Original story - 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, March 6
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got the nod from Virginia primary voters Tuesday, according to very early returns and projections.
Romney faced Texas Congressman Ron Paul in Virginia’s Republican presidential primary; former Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, both residents of Virginia, were not on the ballot.
Results are still coming in from precincts across the state.
In 2008, Virginia voters in the Republican primary selected Paul over Romney. Sen. John McCain won the state with 50.4 percent of the vote; Mike Huckabee received 40.7 percent; Paul received 4.5 percent and Romney received 3.7 percent. Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were also on the ballot and each received less than 1 percent of the vote.
Voting Against Candidates
While some voters Tuesday voted in support of Romney or Paul, others simply voted against a specific candidate.
City of Falls Church resident David Westlake voted for Ron Paul Tuesday morning not because he fully supports the presidential candidate, but because the person he wanted to vote for wasn’t on the ballot, he said.
“I like Ron Paul, but he wasn’t my first choice,” Westlake said Tuesday morning. “I’m just anti-Romney.”
Tim Walsh, an Army veteran from Vienna, told Patch, "Obama is the singular most unqualified candidate to ever be elected president," he said. "I hope to get him out.”
John Gonzalez of Fairfax Station was disappointed in his lack of options. “I didn’t vote for anyone,” Gonzalez told Patch. “I left it blank. I didn’t like either candidate but I wanted to be on the record as having voted.” Gonzalez said that he may have voted for an alternative candidate had more been listed on the ballot.
Others, however, did vote in support of a candidate.
Kathy Hirsch of Fort Hunt, voting Tuesday morning in the Hollin Hall precinct at the Hollin Hall Senior Center, voted for Romney. "I just feel like between the two [Romney and Paul], he's the best candidate right now for the Republican Party," she said.
Paul Latchford, 84, said he cast his vote at Sunrise Valley Elementary School in Reston for Mitt Romney. "I think Mitt Romney is the best man we have under the circumstances," said Latchford, who says he always votes Republican. "He is balanced, experienced and truthful."
Charles Burrow, a stay-at-home father of three children from the Lincolnia neighborhood near Annandale, voted for Ron Paul. "I think he would make a great president. I'm not thrilled with Romney," Burrow said.
Democrats, Independent Voters Participate
Some voters wondered whether Democrats and independent voters could sway the results in Virginia, which is one of fewer than 20 states that hold open primaries. It was not clear early in the evening how many Democrats and independent voters participated Tuesday.
"I voted for Ron Paul, even though I doubt he has a chance. In the fall, I'll probably end up voting for Obama because he's better than our other Republican choices," said one voter in Springfield who considered herself an independent but wished to remain anonymous.
In Michigan, which had its primary Feb. 28, last-minute robo-calls asked Democrats to vote for Rick Santorum. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won, but not by a huge margin.
Just before Tuesday’s Virginia primary, on a Newt Gingrich forum, “Marianne for Newt” wrote: "… If you are a true Newt supporter, the best you can do is vote for Ron Paul and keep Romney from winning more delegates.”
Voter turnout was low, several Northern Virginia precincts reported.
Arlington County often sees high participation at its northern precincts. But that didn't happen Tuesday.
One key northern Arlington precinct saw fewer than 200 people turnout, for instance.
"We had some people who came out today and will always come to vote no matter what," said Julie Fiddick, chief of the Marshall Precinct. "Pushing 200 on a single-party primary when the full cohort of candidates is not on the ballot... It's interesting."
At 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, @FairfaxCounty tweeted turnout was at about 1 percent. By 5 p.m. turnout had risen to about 2 percent.
Around noon Tuesday, the City of Alexandria tweeted 3 percent voter turnout.
A quick sampling of area precincts by Fairfax County's chief election official, Cameron Quinn, saw a high of 123 voters at Silverbrook Elementary in Fairfax Station, just before noon, Quinn told Patch. The lowest reported to her was at Herndon's Hutchison Elementary, where 16 people had voted just before noon.
"I expect a poor turnout. With no real competition, many voters will conclude, 'Why bother?'" Mark J. Rozell, professor of Public Policy at George Mason University in Fairfax told Patch prior to Tuesday’s primaries.
Anthony Bedell, chairman of the Fairfax County Republicans, agreed. "Turnout will be very low," he predicted.
Loretta Malander, a Herndon-area resident, spent her Super Tuesday serving as the precinct captain at Kinross precincts 908 and 909, at Oak Hill Elementary School.
Malander said she is disappointed there were only two candidates on today's ballot, and she thinks the rules for how to get on the ballot should be reconsidered. People want a choice, and it makes Virginia's primary seem insignificant in the scheme of things, she told Herndon Patch this afternoon.
The Chantilly Microcosm
A certain area of Chantilly south of Dulles airport called Walney Village has picked almost all the winners on both political sides for the past decade. The Rocky Run precinct, which includes Walney Village, had a turnout by mid-afternoon of about 3 percent.
Mary and Hampton Hoge, a couple living on Stone Pine Court, are Republicans who both voted for Paul, but they said they were mainly voting against Romney. They told Patch they aren't satisfied with any Republican candidate, but Paul represents more of their beliefs than Romney.
Results from the Rocky Run precinct are not yet available.
Romney Leads Nationally
The latest Gallup rolling five-day average of polls as of mid-day Tuesday showed Romney leading with 34 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 24 percent, Newt Gingrich at 15 percent and Ron Paul at 12 percent, The Hill reported today.
Patch will update this story with the latest statistics throughout the evening.