Overcoming a deep-pocketed opponent who poured nearly $1 million into his campaign, a Virginia state legislator narrowly won the Republican nomination for an open House seat.

With all precincts reporting early Wednesday, Jo Ann Davis, a member of the House of Delegates, won the five-candidate race with 14,263 votes, or 35 percent. Paul Jost, who had the backing of GOP Gov. Jim Gilmore and spent three times the total of his opponents, got 12,155 votes, or 30 percent.

Davis, who would become the first woman from Virginia in Congress if she wins, will go up against former Fredericksburg mayor Lawrence Davies, a Democrat. Both seek to replace retiring nine-term GOP Rep. Herbert Bateman.

The Virginia race was a highlight of elections in five states, including primaries in Maine, North Dakota and South Carolina and a runoff in Arkansas.

Another bitter fight in Virginia brought a razor-thin victory to Eric Cantor, a member of the state House of Delegates. With all precincts reporting, Cantor had 20,902 votes, or just over 50 percent, while state Sen. Steve Martin had 20,637 votes, just under 50 percent. A recount seemed assured. Cantor, who also had Gilmore's endorsement, had questioned Martin's votes on legislative pay and expenses. Martin raised issues about Cantor's family's dealings in real estate.

Cantor will face school superintendent Warren Stewart, whom Democrats nominated at the last minute in the race to fill the seat of GOP Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, who is retiring after 20 years.

The biggest seats up for election Tuesday went unchallenged. No primary opponents emerged for two-term Democratic Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia, freshman GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who is seeking a third term. Even North Dakota's seat for governor, open because Republican Ed Schafer chose not to seek a third term, went without a primary fight.

A crowded South Carolina race went to a runoff, with state Rep. Henry Brown taking 44 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, former state transportation chairman H.B. "Buck" Limehouse, got 33 percent, after Limehouse outspent Brown by nearly 3-to-1.

The seat, in a coastal district, is held by GOP Rep. Mark Sanford, who is sticking to a campaign pledge to serve just three terms. Democrat Andy Brack, a former reporter and spokesman for Democratic Sen. Ernest Hollings, was unopposed in the primary.

And in a South Carolina primary that will essentially determine the general election winner, first-term GOP Rep. James DeMint easily defeated Frank Raddish. Democrats did not run a candidate in the heavily GOP district.

In a runoff for the Democratic nomination for an Arkansas House seat, state Sen. Mike Ross defeated former TV reporter Dewayne Graham 58 percent to 42 percent.