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Very Light Turnout in McLean, Fairfax Today in Republican Presidential Primary

2 candidates on the Virginia ballot

About four percent of registered voters had voted by mid-afternoon at the McLean precinct in today's Super Tuesday Republican Presidential Primary.

Throughout Fairfax County about one percent of registered voters had cast ballots by mid-afternoon, according to the Fairfax County Board of Elections.

The major reason given for the low turnout in  McLean and Virginia --- four Republicans are running for President, but only two qualified for the Virginia ballot --- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Cong. Ron Paul.

Neither McLean neighbor Newt Gingrich nor Great Falls resident Rick Santorum qualified for the Virginia ballot. Gingrich has campaigned the most in Georgia, where he was elected to Congress. Gingrich was born in Pennsylvania.

"It's just frustrating that not everyone's name was on the ballot," said Anne Quinn, of Arlington who was handing out Republican literature. "I don't understand why the state GOP didn't allow write-ins," she said.

Carmen Liebeler, of McLean, came to vote shortly before 2 pm. because "I always vote in the primary. That's my job," she said.

Margaret Turek, chief of the precinct which is located at the Lewinsville Center on Great Falls Road, said as of noon 105 voters of the precinct's 2,500 voters had cast ballots.

Virginia is among 10 states, mostly in the South, that are holding primaries today.

Potential VP McDonnell Encourages Participation

Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has endorsed frontrunner Mitt Romney and , asked that voters turn out on Tuesday, in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

"We have two candidates — Ron Paul and our endorsed candidate Gov. Mitt Romney — and while it [the Virginia primary] is one of 10 races that are being held across the country, we obviously think Virginia is a critically important state," McDonnell said.

"It's said to be a swing state," he said. "It was a state that three, four years ago went for Obama and seven years ago went for President Bush so it certainly has the ability for both Democrats and Republicans to win. That's why most people think Virginia will be a very important state in November. We're asking our Republican activists and Independents who want to vote in the Republican primary, to go out and vote tomorrow."

Is McDonnell, who is oft-discussed as a potential running mate with Romney, serving up Virginia's delegates to Romney on a silver platter? University of Virginia Prof. Larry Sabato, in his "Crystal Ball" report, noted Virginia's leaders are Romney supporters and said that Romney will "sweep or nearly sweep" the state and is "guaranteed Virginia" and its 46 delegates up for grabs. 

In 2008, when there was both a Democratic and Republican presidential primary, turnout was about 11 percent statewide, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Patch editors Nicole Trifone, Jason Spencer and Bobbi Bowman contributed to this report.

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