Republicans George Allen and Eric Cantor cruised to easy victories in the Virginia primary on Tuesday.
Allen, who has been marred in scandal over the last few years, won the Senate primary and will face off against Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine in the general election. Allen had 65% of the vote.
Allen's challengers had argued that he is not conservative enough and therefore a poor choice to face Kaine in November. Still, none was able to compete against Allen's near-universal name recognition.
After Allen's victory, Republicans immediately attacked Kaine: “George Allen represents a common-sense path forward for Virginia … while his opponent, former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, represents the status quo of higher taxes, bigger government, and more wasteful, Washington spending,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas).
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also easily won his Republican primary race in Virginia, brushing aside a challenger he had trounced in the November election two years go.
Cantor is second only to Speaker John Boehner in the leadership of the House's large Republican majority. He had 79% of the vote over Floyd Bayne.
Cantor faces Democrat Wayne Powell this November in Virginia's heavily Republican 7th District. Powell, a Richmond lawyer and retired Army colonel, clenched his party's nomination after other Democrats dropped out.
Turnout in Tuesday’s open Virginia Senate Republican primary was in the single digits. Virginia will likely be a battleground state in the general election, but will voters actually turnout?
Some analysts have said that if Republicans especially don't show up to the polls, they could lose critical congressional elections.
When Mitt Romney went one-on-one against Ron Paul earlier this year in the GOP presidential contest, there was a 5.22% turnout. The only statewide races to break the low turnout mold during the last seven years were the 2008 presidential primaries.
In 2005, Jerry Kilgore won the GOP nod for governor with 3.98% voter turnout but lost the general election to Tim Kaine. Now-Sen. Jim Webb defeated Harris Miller the next year with 3.45% turnout in the Democratic Senate primary and went on to defeat George Allen that fall. In 2009, Creigh Deeds won the Democratic nod for governor in a race that featured 6.29% turnout. Deeds lost to Bob McDonnell in the general election.