May brings key primaries across nation

May brings key primaries across nation

Voters in twelve states will choose party nominees in closely watched primary election contests around the country this month, as Democrats and Republicans jockey ahead of November’s midterms. 

The battles include costly and competitive Senate contests in states like Indiana and West Virginia, closely watched House seats in Texas and Pennsylvania and gubernatorial races that pit competing visions of both the Republican and Democratic Parties against each other in states like Ohio and Georgia.

The critical states on the calendar this month:

Indiana (May 8)

Republicans will choose a nominee to face Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE (D), one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year.

ADVERTISEMENT

A nasty primary has set Reps. Luke MesserAllen (Luke) Lucas MesserK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Yoder, Messer land on K Street House GOP to force members to give up leadership positions if running for higher office MORE (R) and Todd RokitaTheodore (Todd) Edward RokitaLobbying world Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations House passes year-end tax package MORE (R) against each other, giving former state Rep. Mike Braun (R) an opportunity to run up the middle. Braun, a wealthy businessman, has spent about $4.5 million on his campaign, more than either Rokita or Messer. 

Donnelly beat a deeply flawed Republican, Richard Mourdock, in 2012; Messer, Rokita and Braun are all more polished than Mourdock was.

Indiana Republicans will see a familiar name on the ballot in the race to replace Messer. Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Pence, leads the GOP field in Indiana’s 6th District, which stretches from Muncie to the Ohio and Kentucky border.

North Carolina (May 8) 

This year marks a so-called Blue Moon election in North Carolina, where neither a governor’s seat nor a Senate seat are on the ballot. Some Republicans worry that will depress GOP turnout, even as Democrats show signs of increased enthusiasm for voting in the midterms.  

Democrats will pick nominees in crowded primaries against Reps. Richard HudsonRichard Lane HudsonNorth Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps North Carolina ruling could cost GOP House seats School football game canceled after cheerleaders held pro-Trump banner MORE (R), Robert PittengerRobert Miller PittengerBottom Line North Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race North Carolina board calls for new election in contested House race MORE (R) and Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage North Carolina congressman says he won't seek reelection after redistricting NC rep explores Tillis primary challenge MORE (R). Before he gets to November, Pittenger faces a tough rematch against Mark Harris (R), a conservative Baptist pastor. Pittenger beat Harris by just 134 votes in the 2016 Republican primary.

Ohio (May 8) 

The battle to replace term-limited Gov. John Kasich (R) has gotten nasty in both parties.

On the GOP side, Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) leads Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (R) in a contest of who can distance themselves most from Kasich. Among Democrats, former Attorney General Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDemocrats jump into Trump turf war over student loans Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to consumer agency On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles MORE (D) has had to fend off former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), who is mounting a long-shot comeback bid.

Ohio will have an entirely new slate of executive officers next year — none of the six incumbents are seeking reelection. 

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciDemocrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Medicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, 'investigation would have wrapped up very quickly' MORE (R) is likely to hold off a conservative challenger in his bid against Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal MORE (D), another Democratic incumbent seeking reelection in a state Trump won. Democrats are targeting a handful of Republican-held House seats, including an open-seat contest to replace former Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiOhio New Members 2019 Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress GOP Rep. Balderson holds onto seat in Ohio MORE (R), who resigned earlier this year to take a private sector job.

Also on May 8, Ohio voters will decide whether to change the way the state draws its congressional lines. A measure on the state’s ballot would create a commission independent of the legislature to draw the next set of boundaries.

West Virginia (May 8)

Republicans are banking on either Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsWest Virginia New Members 2019 Republican Carol Miller holds off Democrat in West Virginia House race Trump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report MORE (R) or Attorney General Patrick Morrissey (R) as viable nominees to take on Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation MORE (D) in November. If Jenkins and Morrissey can hold off a free-spending Don Blankenship, whose poll numbers have slipped in recent weeks, Manchin will likely face the most difficult race of his long career. 

Democrats hope they can win seats held by Jenkins and Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyOcasio-Cortez calls out GOP lawmakers asking to be arrested, citing privilege Ocasio-Cortez, Mooney spar on Twitter over closed-door impeachment hearings House Republican defends protest of closed-door hearing MORE (R), though West Virginia has been trending strongly Republican in recent years. 

Idaho (May 15) 

Three Republicans vying to replace term-limited Gov. Butch Otter (R) are locked in a dogfight in this deep-red state.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R) has Otter’s backing, along with that of most of the Republican establishment. Businessman Tommy Ahlquist (R) will bank on his connection to Idaho’s large and conservative Mormon population. And Rep. Raúl Labrador (R) has a track record among Tea Party types, who sent him to the state legislature and Congress over establishment-backed favorites. 

The winner of the Republican primary is almost certain to replace Otter next year. Idaho has not elected a Democratic governor since Cecil Andrus won his last term in 1990. 

Nebraska (May 15) 

First-term Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is cruising toward reelection in November. He is likely to face state Sen. Bob Krist, who faces two lesser-known Democrats in the primary. The state’s only other race of note is in the Omaha-based second district, where Rep. Don Bacon (R) appears set for a rematch against the man he beat in 2016, former Rep. Brad AshfordJohn (Brad) Bradley AshfordJustice Democrats endorses two progressives challenging Democratic incumbents White men now the minority in pool of House Democratic candidates: analysis Pelosi sees defections from an unusual quarter — the left MORE (D).

Oregon (May 15)

Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1982, the second-longest streak of Democratic dominance in the nation. But the GOP is quietly hopeful that state Rep. Knute Buehler (R) might be the man to end that drought. Buehler faces nine other candidates vying for the right to face Gov. Kate Brown (D).

Pennsylvania (May 15)

A state Supreme Court ruling striking down congressional district lines has scrambled the field, opening districts where longtime incumbents once claimed insurmountable advantages. Seven of the commonwealth’s 18 House districts will elect new members of Congress in November, including in battlegrounds like the 5th and 6th Districts, both in Philadelphia’s Collar Counties, and Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentEx-GOP lawmaker: Former colleagues privately say they're 'disgusted and exhausted' by Trump Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Federal judge blocks Trump from detaining migrant children indefinitely | Health officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand | Trump to deliver health care speech in Florida The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps MORE’s (R) 7th District, in swing exurban Philadelphia.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe US needs to lead again on disability rights No one wins with pro-abortion litmus test New ObamaCare enrollment period faces Trump headwinds MORE Jr. (D), another Democrat running for reelection in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE won, will formally get an opponent this month. Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaEx-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 MORE (R) is likely to beat state Rep. Jim Christiana (R) for the Republican nomination.

Arkansas (May 22)

Democrats have little hope of knocking off Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R). But the party has hopes in the Little Rock-based House district held by Rep. French HillJames (French) French HillPelosi to Democrats: 'Are you ready?' The Suburban Caucus: Solutions for America's suburbs An unintended burden on small businesses MORE (R). Four Democrats are fighting for the right to face Hill in November, led by state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D).

Georgia (May 22)

Both Democrats and Republicans face crowded races to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R). On the GOP side, polls show Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) within shouting distance of the 50 percent he would need to avoid a runoff, with Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) and former state Sen. Hunter Hill (R) competing for second place. 

On the Democratic side, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) has become a minor celebrity in progressive circles. She is likely to best former state Rep. Stacey Evans (D).

Democrats narrowly missed out on winning a special election in the Atlanta suburbs last year, but they will try again in two districts this year. Both Reps. Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelGeorgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Ossoff raises 0k in first three weeks of Senate bid, campaign says MORE (R), who won last year’s special election, and Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad The House Republicans and Democrats not seeking reelection in 2020 MORE (R) represent well-educated districts where President Trump may become an albatross. Four Democrats are running against Handel. Woodall has six Democratic opponents.

Kentucky (May 22)

Kentucky elects its statewide constitutional officers the year after a midterm, but all 100 state House seats and half of the 38 state Senate seats are up this year. Republicans hold both chambers by large margins, though Democrats won back a seat in a heavily Republican district earlier this year. 

The marquee match-up in the primary will happen in Lexington, where Mayor Jim Gray (D) and Iraq war veteran Amy McGrath (D) are fighting for the right to take on Rep. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrOn the Trail: Forget the pundits, more electoral votes could be in play in 2020 Mnuchin to lawmakers: 'I'm highly encouraged you will' pass Trump's North America trade deal Kentucky Democrat moves closer to McConnell challenge MORE (R). Gray ran against Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting MORE (R) in 2016, but McGrath has caught fire, and is proving a remarkably strong contender in her first run for office. 

Texas (May 22 runoff)

Democrats will pick their nominees in a handful of races where neither candidate reached 50 percent in the March primaries, including in the race for governor, where Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) faces businessman Andrew White (D). Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) advisers expect Valdez to prevail.

Republicans will pick nominees to fill seats held by outgoing Reps. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSenate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 Cook shifts two House GOP seats closer to Dem column MORE (R), Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank House passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell Has Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? MORE (R), Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonLongtime GOP aide to launch lobbying shop Katie Hill resignation reignites push for federal 'revenge porn' law Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement MORE (R), Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithEx-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Former GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company Democratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress MORE (R), Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Lawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid MORE (R) and Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (D). Democrats must finalize their picks in districts held by Barton, Smith, Farenthold and Reps. Sam JohnsonSamuel (Sam) Robert Johnson Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan Lobbying world Social Security is approaching crisis territory MORE (R), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonGeorge H.W. Bush grandson to enter Texas congressional race Texas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (R), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Texas GOP congressman calls on governor to postpone execution of Rodney Reed MORE (R), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonGeorge H.W. Bush grandson to enter Texas congressional race What's causing the congressional 'Texodus'? Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 MORE (R), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdCongressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses two Texas Democrats Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' CNN's Bianna Golodryga: 'Rumblings' from Democrats on censuring Trump instead of impeachment MORE (R), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsOn The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal Supreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade MORE (R), John CarterJohn Rice CarterOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families America's workers and small business owners need the SECURE Act Cornyn faces toughest race yet in changing Texas MORE (R) and Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsTexas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 Bottom Line The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - GOP snags mic with impeachment protest MORE (R).

--Updated at 7:31 a.m.