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Low voter turnout forecast for Tuesday's Democratic primaries in Virginia

Voters will pick Democratic candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

NORFOLK, Va. — June primaries are notoriously low-participation events here in Virginia.

"Democrats are going to be lucky if five percent of voters show up to vote in the primary," said Christopher Newport University Political Science Professor Quentin Kidd. "Maybe even less than that."

Still, what's at stake is enormous: who will be the Democratic Party's nominee for governor.

Five candidates are seeking the nod: Former Governor Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, State Senator Jennifer McClellan, former Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, and Delegate Lee Carter.

The winner will take on Republican nominee Glenn Younkin in the November general election.

Youngkin is a businessman who campaigned as a conservative, Christian outsider.  Youngkin was declared the winner of May's virtual Republican convention.

He defeated a hard-right contender in state Sen. Amanda Chase, who closely aligned herself with former President Donald Trump, as well as an establishment candidate former House Speaker Kirk Cox, and businessman Pete Snyder.

Youngkin won the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump who, in a release, said, "Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America."

Kidd says the wealthy Youngkin begins with what seems to be unlimited financial resources, which Kidd says, is his greatest strength.

"However, his greatest weakness in some ways is that he is simply unknown to Virginians," he said. "So, that gives the Democrats the ability if they are also well-funded, to define Glenn Youngkin."

McAuliffe seems to be the prohibitive favorite in Tuesday's Democratic contest.

The CNU Wason Center for Civic Leadership polled more than 800 registered voters in the state from April 11 to April 20 and found that nearly half (47%) backed McAuliffe.

Kidds says whomever of the five Democrats emerges victorious Tuesday, he or she will be a favorite to win it all.

"Look, Virginia, I think structurally is a Democratically-leaning state, by a few percentage points by up to 10 percentage points," he said. "The challenge is on the side of Republicans here to knock Democrats off their winning pedestal they've been on for a decade. The challenge for Democrats  is to convince voters that they still deserve to win statewide races."

The last Republican to win a statewide general election in Virginia was Bob McDonnell, who was elected governor back in 2009.

Since then, Democrats McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine have won every top-of-the-ticket statewide contest, in addition to President Obama,  Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden carrying the state in the Presidential races in those years.

Democrats will also vote on a very diverse list of six candidates for lieutenant governor, including Hala Ayala, the first Hispanic female member of the legislature and Sam Rasoul, the first Muslim member of the legislature. Alexandria-area Del. Mark Levine, Norfolk councilwoman Andria McClellan, Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman, and NFL player agent Xavier Warren are also in the race.

For Attorney General, voters will also pick between incumbent Mark Herring and Del. Jay Jones.

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