Polls open today for primary

Published 9:50 pm Monday, June 8, 2009

They’re not expecting long lines, voting delays or even intense voter interest, but Suffolk Voter Registrar Sharon Thornhill and her staff will be staffing the city’s voting precincts today, nonetheless.

With a Democratic primary set today that will choose challengers for the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the city.

Thornhill suggested on Monday that she’s not expecting a stampede of voters.

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“Right now, it’s quiet,” she said.

That’s not a huge surprise, considering there is no Republican opponent on the ballot to attract voters of that persuasion or to give the election the horse-race feeling of many general elections.

Republicans nominated their candidates at a statewide convention in Richmond on the last weekend of May, choosing Bob McDonnell to run for governor, Bill Bolling to run for re-election as lieutenant governor and Ken Cuccinelli to run for attorney general.

The interest in today’s primary has been pretty subdued, Thornhill said.

The registrar’s office has received just 59 absentee ballots and has two outstanding in the mail, she said.

For a bit of perspective, consider that there were 11,878 absentee ballots cast for the November election, which featured several important local races and a historic presidential matchup.

In today’s primary, Suffolk voters will be asked to choose a Democratic candidate for governor and lieutenant governor.

Vying for the gubernatorial candidacy are R. Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian J. Moran.

Deeds, 51, a state senator from Bath County, is an attorney who specializes in personal injury, criminal and civil litigation, real estate, domestic relations and estate planning. He is a member of Senate committees on agriculture and natural resources, courts, transportation and elections. He also has served as a state delegate.

Born in New York, McAuliffe, 52, is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and ran Hillary Clinton’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. He has served in fundraising leadership positions for several other Democratic campaigns, including former President Bill Clinton’s re-election and former President Jimmy Carter’s election. He has lived in Northern Virginia for nearly 20 years.

A Massachusetts native, Moran, 49, now lives in Alexandria. He served as a delegate to Virginia’s General Assembly from 1996 to 2008, when he resigned to run for governor. A lawyer, he served as a prosecutor in Arlington for several years before starting his own practice. He has served on House of Delegates committees on courts, transportation, health and welfare.

Voters also will choose a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor today. Suffolk voters will see three names on the ballot, though Jon I. Browerbank announced May 18 that he was withdrawing from the race.

Actively campaigning for the candidacy are Jody M. Wagner of Virginia Beach and A. Michael Signer of Arlington.

Wagner was Virginia’s secretary of finance from 2006 to 2008 and served as state treasurer from 2002 to 2006. She is an attorney and owns a shop in Virginia Beach.

Signer works for a Washington, D.C., think tank and served as foreign policy advisor for John Edwards’ presidential campaign and as the national security and veterans policy advisor for President Barack Obama’s election campaign and transition team.

For more information about the candidates, visit their Web sites:






Voters will need to bring some form of identification with them to the polls, Thornhill said, and they should head to their normal precincts to cast a ballot.

There is no need to register for or declare allegiance to any party to vote in the primary.

“Whatever your party affiliation, you can still vote,” she said.

For Election-Day help, call the registrar’s office at 514-7750 or 514-7751.