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Fairfax County voters side with Biden and Haley in presidential primaries

A sign provides information about the March 5, 2024 Democratic and Republican presidential primaries (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Perhaps Nikki Haley’s rally in Idylwood last week made a difference after all.

In yesterday’s Republican presidential primary, the former South Carolina governor won more support from Fairfax County voters than frontrunner Donald Trump, though she trailed the one-time president by a sizable margin in Virginia overall.

According to preliminary results from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, Haley received 48,007 votes (57%) compared to Trump’s 33,752 votes (40%). The four other candidates on the Republican ballot combined for 2,038 votes, though none of them were seeking the nomination anymore.

Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy left the race before early voting started in January, while Texas pastor Ryan Binkley suspended his campaign in February. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who dropped out and endorsed Trump on Jan. 21, led the also-rans with 923 votes, including 771 that were cast yesterday (Tuesday).

In total, 83,797 ballots were cast in Fairfax County’s Republican primary — a roughly 10.6% turnout. The vast majority of votes (72,238) came in the day of the primary, though mail ballots will be counted until noon on Friday (March 8) as long as they were postmarked on or before election day.

As of this morning, Trump has drawn 63.3% of the vote in Virginia’s Republican primary, getting 33 delegates as part of a Super Tuesday haul that puts him close to the 1,215 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. With 34.6% of the Virginia vote, Haley gained six delegates, but after trailing in all of yesterday’s primaries except for Vermont, she announced today (Wednesday) that she will end her campaign.

Biden prevails in Democratic primary

Over in the Democratic primary, President Joe Biden garnered nearly 89% of votes in Virginia, including 51,612 (86.6%) of the 59,812 votes cast in Fairfax County, according to unofficial results.

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee said it was “thrilled with last night’s outcomes” in both the Democratic and Republican contests.

“With President Biden’s sweep in Virginia we are committed to keep the commonwealth blue as we head into the November election,” the FCDC said. “We are further heartened by the significant loss of Former President Trump in Fairfax County as it underscores local rejection of the divisive politics employed by his and Glenn Youngkin’s party.”

Though no serious primary challengers to the sitting president emerged, Marianne Williamson received 5,989 votes in Fairfax County, and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips got 2,211 votes.

It’s unclear why voters cast ballots for those candidates, but in some states, activists have urged Democrats to withhold their vote from Biden to protest his handling of Israel’s war on Gaza. A Listen to Virginia Coalition, a spin-off of the original “Listen to Michigan” campaign, asked voters to cast ballots for Williamson instead, since Virginia doesn’t have an “uncommitted” or write-in option.

Biden has been allocated 1,497 delegates so far and needs 1,967 to officially win the Democratic nomination, which will be determined at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, on Aug. 19-22. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Fairfax County saw a total turnout of 18.15% for yesterday’s primaries, a decline from the 34.2% of voters who participated in the last Democratic presidential primary in March 2020. The most recent Republican presidential primary was in March 2016 and had a 20.8% turnout.

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