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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 DonnellyBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE (D), one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year.

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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 RokitaIndiana attorney general loses reelection bid after groping allegations Bottom Line Lobbying world 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 HudsonDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade How Congress is preventing a Medicare bankruptcy during COVID-19 Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats 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 BuddHouse Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Bipartisan bill introduced to require TSA to take temperature checks How to combat substance abuse during COVID-19 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 CordrayConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Supreme Court ruling could unleash new legal challenges to consumer bureau Supreme Court rules consumer bureau director can be fired at will 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. RenacciLobbying world Ohio is suddenly a 2020 battleground Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 MORE (R) is likely to hold off a conservative challenger in his bid against Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry 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) ManchinSusan Collins and the American legacy Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw 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 MooneyHouse GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought Overnight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation 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 AshfordNebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - First lady casts Trump as fighter for the 'forgotten' House Democrats target Midwestern GOP seats 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 DentRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Biden picks up endorsements from nearly 100 Republicans Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath MORE’s (R) 7th District, in swing exurban Philadelphia.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHealthcare, retirement security seen as top issues for older voters, lawmakers say The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE Jr. (D), another Democrat running for reelection in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE won, will formally get an opponent this month. Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James Barletta10 bellwether counties that could signal where the election is headed Bottom Line Ex-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs 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 HillRepublican fears grow over rising Democratic tide The use and abuse of the IMF in the fight against COVID-19 Lawmakers ask Pelosi, McConnell to diversify coronavirus relief oversight panel 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 HandelHouse Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts Black Lives Matter movement to play elevated role at convention QAnon backer Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia GOP runoff MORE (R), who won last year’s special election, and Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates 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 BarrReclaiming the American Dream Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of current emergency lending programs McConnell holds 12-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll MORE (R). Gray ran against Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate 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 PoeSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 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 BartonLobbying world Bottom line Ex-Tea Party lawmakers turn heads on K Street MORE (R), Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Cheney asks DOJ to probe environmental groups | Kudlow: 'No sector worse hurt than energy' during pandemic | Trump pledges 'no politics' in Pebble Mine review Cheney asks DOJ to probe environmental groups  How effective are protests and riots for changing America? MORE (R), Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R) and Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenBottom line Texas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress MORE (D). Democrats must finalize their picks in districts held by Barton, Smith, Farenthold and Reps. Sam JohnsonSamuel (Sam) Robert JohnsonHouse seeks ways to honor John Lewis Sam Johnson: Fighter for the greater good House pays tribute to late Congressman Sam Johnson on the floor MORE (R), John CulbersonJohn Abney Culberson2020 Democratic Party platform endorses Trump's NASA moon program Bottom line Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm MORE (R), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Bipartisan action needed to counter Chinese influence MORE (R), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' The time for HELP is now: Senate should pass bill to expedite recovery following natural disasters MORE (R), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdTrump predicts GOP will win the House Changing suburbs threaten GOP hold on Texas Bottom line MORE (R), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Yoho apologizes for accosting AOC MORE (R), John CarterJohn Rice CarterBiden, Democrats see late opportunity in Texas Donna Imam wins Democratic runoff to face Rep. John Carter House panel advances bill banning construction on bases with Confederate names MORE (R) and Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsThe Hill's Campaign Report: New polls show Biden leading by landslide margins The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - In Rose Garden, Trump launches anti-Biden screed Pete Sessions wins GOP runoff in comeback bid MORE (R).

--Updated at 7:31 a.m.