It will all come down to turnout. That’s the conventional wisdom in looking at the Republican Party primaries in the Sixth District and the U.S. Senate race.
Turnout is likely to be in the 4 to 6 percent range in Tuesday’s primaries. For the state race, that would translate to roughly 125,000 to 150,000 votes, and in the Sixth it means about 18,000 to 25,000.
It seems to reason that former governor and U.S. senator George Allen and Sixth District incumbent Bob Goodlatte will do better the higher the turnout is. Allen, additionally, benefits by having three opponents instead of one, meaning voters looking to cast a protest vote have three options instead of one.
Goodlatte probably tosses and turns a little more tonight because he has one opponent, retired military analyst Karen Kwiatkowski, who needs only to reach the relatively low bar of 9,000 to 12,500 votes to pull off what would be a monumental political upset.
Beating Allen means that one of his three challengers – Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke, state legislator Bob Marshall or E.W. Jackson – has to rack up 60,000 to 75,000 votes.
It doesn’t seem likely that the three combined will add up to that total.
Look for voter turnout to be in the middle of the possible range – around 5 percent – in both races. Look for Allen to carry the day with relative ease, pulling in around 65 percent of the vote.
And look for Goodlatte to pull off a solid if not spectacular defense of his right to run in November with a vote percentage in that same ballpark – 65 percent.
Analysis by Chris Graham/AFP editor