By Joe Beck
Republicans in the 10th District will choose their nominee for Congress Saturday under an unusual method that combines features of a primary and a convention.
Six candidates are running to succeed long time U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Vienna, who announced his retirement plans in December.
The candidates include Del. Barbara Comstock of McLean; Stephen Hollingshead, a former senior advisor in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Howie Lind, a tea party activist and retired U.S. Navy commander; Del. Bob Marshall of Manassas; real estate mortgage broker Marc Savitt; and congressional staffer Rob Wasinger.
The winner will face Democrat John Foust, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who clinched his party's nomination after two other candidates dropped out.
The 10th District covers Manassas, Manassas Park, Winchester and the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Loudon and parts of Prince William and Fairfax.
Saturday's event is a party canvass, informally known as a firehouse primary, that is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants will cast their ballots at one of 10 locations assigned according to where they live in the district. Participants must be registered voters, show valid photo identification issued by a federal or Virginia state government agency or a local government unit within Virginia. Voters must also sign a statement affirming their support of the Republican Party.
Those wishing to save time at their polling station can obtain a statement of party support online at http://vagop10.org/party-canvass.
Registered voters in all Frederick County precincts will cast their ballots at Millbrook High School, 251 First Woods Drive, Winchester.
Winchester voters can participate at the War Memorial Building, 1001 E. Cork St., Winchester.
All Clarke County voters are assigned to the Berryville Primary School, 317 W. Main St., Berryville.
Beau Correll, a member of the 10th District Republican Committee and chairman of the Winchester party, said the outcome of the campaign is "really up in the air."
"It's anybody's guess when it comes to the race," Correll said. "I've heard different conflicting internal poll numbers."
Correll described the race as "a very spirited" contest in which "the candidates have had the ability to debate in multiple open forums. Hopefully, every voter by now has had all their questions answered with regard to the policy positions of each candidate."
Correll said he did not expect a turnout of more than a few hundred people. He based his prediction on turnout for the party's most recent U.S. Senate primary.
"The thinking is that more people would be drawn to a contentious Senate race than a congressional one," Correll said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org