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Republican officials in Virginia’s 5th district have decided to choose their 2010 opponent for Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in a primary election next June — the method preferred by a state legislator the national party is promoting in a seven-candidate race.

Virginia law allows the political parties to nominate candidates by primary or convention, and the 5th district GOP organization on Saturday afternoon voted 19-13 to hold a primary.

The decision was welcomed by state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), whose candidacy has been promoted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, and opposed by his six lower-profile opponents, who said that a primary would burden cash-strapped local governments and also cause candidates to spend campaign funds that should be saved to compete against Perriello.

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