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1st Congressional District primary is June 10

Tuesday, Jun. 3 | By Jonathan Hunley
Anthony T. Riedel, GOP candidate in the 1st Congressional District
Rep.Robert J. "Rob" Wittman
It's Election Day on June 10.

Well, at least, it's Election Day if you live in the 1st Congressional District and want to vote in the Republican primary.

Voters in four Fauquier County election precincts can participate in the GOP nominating process by choosing either incumbent Rep. Robert J. "Rob" Wittman or challenger Anthony T. Riedel.

Those precincts are Catlett (Southeastern Alternative School), Lois (Grove Baptist Church), Morrisville (Mary Walter Elementary School), and Bealeton (Cedar Lee Middle School).

The sprawling 1st District stretches from Hampton Roads to Prince William County but takes in only those four areas of Fauquier. The remainder of the county lies in the 5th Congressional District.

There are about 10,000 registered Fauquier voters in the 1st District, county Registrar Alex Ables said earlier this week, and he noted that the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

And because Virginia has open primaries, anyone registered to vote in the Catlett, Lois, Morrisville or Bealeton precincts can cast a ballot.

The challenger, who lives in Williamsburg, is a public relations specialist at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in Springfield.

Riedel said Monday that voters "deserve a chance to vote for change."

"The Republican Party needs candidates who espouse the message of liberty and constitutionally limited government, and [to] elect those with the principle to actually govern that way," he said in an email.

The candidate also said he decided to run because he doesn't like Wittman's voting record.

"I am concerned about his votes to enable the growth of government, higher spending and more debt by voting for increasing the debt ceiling three times and for corporate welfare like the Export-Import Bank (to name one example)," he said. "Our country is $17.5 trillion in debt, and it's time we right the ship."

Wittman, however, said he's fighting "out-of-control spending."

"We simply cannot afford to keep spending at the current rate, placing the burden on our children and grandchildren," he said in a statement about the issue on his campaign website. "That’s why I have voted against every 'clean' debt ceiling increase that did not include spending cuts or budget reforms."

Wittman, who lives in Montross, was first elected to Congress in December 2007. He won a special election then to replace the late Rep. Jo Ann Davis.

Before that, he served in the House of Delegates and in local government in Westmoreland County.

It was unclear this week whom the Democrats might nominate as a candidate in the 1st District, but they're scheduled to have a district convention Saturday in Fredericksburg.

There is a Libertarian candidate in this year's congressional race, as well. That's Xavian Draper, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve who lives in Newport News.

Virginia Republicans also will pick a U.S. Senate nominee Saturday.

Political observers figure that former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie will prevail at a party convention in Roanoke, but he faces three opponents.

They are: former Air Force combat pilot and insurance salesman Shak Hill of Centreville, congressional staffer Tony DeTora of Stafford County, and Chuck Moss of Nokesville, who owns a network consulting business.

The victor will take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner in the general election Nov. 4.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's Fauquier Times.

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