By Jason Spencer and Beth Lawton
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Moran solidly defeated challenger Bruce Shuttleworth in the Democratic primary race in the 8th Congressional District Tuesday night, taking more than two-thirds of the votes according to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections.
"This was kind of a trial run—the real test is in November...we want to make sure we all come together and maximize the turnout in November," Moran told a group of Democrats celebrating at a jammed Cafe Pizzaiolo in Alexandria's Cameron Station neighborhood.
Northern Virginia could definitely predict the outcome of the Senate in November and most likely the president, Moran noted. "United we win, divided we fall. We must be united as one party."
"Embrace the people around you," he said, "and show that the GOP is taking the wrong course."
"Collectively you truly made it happen," he told the packed restaurant. "Individually you're wonderful."
Moran will face GOP contender of Alexandria, who lost to Moran in November 2010, and , an independent.
Moran received 74.3 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results from the Virginia State Board of Elections, with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting results. Shuttleworth received 25.7 percent.
Candidates Vote Early in Arlington
Moran voted Tuesday at 6 a.m. at the Arlington County Division of Parks and Natural Resources on South Taylor Street in Shirlington. Moran said he “always” worries about primary elections.
“It keeps me energized,” Moran told Patch. “I'm never complacent about anything, and for something that's worth it like this, it is worth working hard for and not being taken for granted.”
Shuttleworth was one of the first voters to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary at the Madison Community Center precinct in North Arlington. Shuttleworth said he was ready for a general election campaign when Patch caught up with him.
"We'd be completely energized for that," Shuttleworth said. "I'm up for that challenge."
Shuttleworth Supporters Gather
Shuttleworth supporters gathered Tuesday night at the Falls Church home of Jack Gosnell, who had converted two ground-level rooms of his house into campaign offices.
Though campaign volunteers talked of another run in two years, Shuttleworth said it would be "rude" to announce any future intentions Tuesday night. He said he planned to let the dust settle, get some sleep, and thank his supporters.
"This was the experience of a lifetime," said Shuttleworth, who lives in Arlington.
"This is perhaps the most educated district in the country. Just about everyone I meet knows way more than me about a lot of different things. My listening skills have improved dramatically."
Shuttleworth expressed gratitude "for all the wonderful citizens who reached out to me, and were very generous with their time and their thoughts. I will be forever grateful for their warmth and their support."
Earlier in the day, election workers at Arlington's Lyon Park Precinct said they saw "a lot of protest votes" — Republicans who decided to participate in the Democratic primary in order to vote against Moran. One of those volunteers, Ken Pinkela, said election workers didn't ask, but rather people came in happy to talk about how they were voting.
Arlington's Democrats were much more likely to talk about supporting the challenger in hushed voices.
"Intellectually, the perspective (Shuttleworth) has taken appears to be a practical, common-sense questioning of issues — and somebody like that, one would hope, would have a future in politics in Virginia and in politics nationally. Because we don't have enough of that approach," one longtime North Arlington Democrat told Patch outside of Taylor Elementary School. The woman, who said she thought highly of Moran, declined to give her name.
The Shuttleworth campaign had between 70 and 80 volunteers working the 160-plus precincts that make up the 8th Congressional District throughout Tuesday.
"We've had a lot of support," said Sonia Klein, Shuttleworth's deputy campaign manager. She cited Moran's campaign war chest and the incumbent's two decades in office building name identification and said, "It's been tough."
Patch editors Sharon McLoone, James Cullum and Lauren Sausser contributed to this story.
This article was originally published June 13, 2012.