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 DonnellyLobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries 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 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 HudsonSchool football game canceled after cheerleaders held pro-Trump banner Girls Little League softball champions get invitation to White House GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' 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 BuddGirls Little League softball champions get invitation to White House House conservatives call for ethics probe into Joaquin Castro tweet Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess 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 CordrayTrump administration asks Supreme Court to take up challenge to consumer bureau Watchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves 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. RenacciMedicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, 'investigation would have wrapped up very quickly' House Ethics Committee extends probe into Renacci MORE (R) is likely to hold off a conservative challenger in his bid against Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system 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) ManchinO'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Schumer: I don't know any 'Democrat who agrees' with O'Rourke on gun seizures 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 MooneyConservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale 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 DentThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps The Hill's 12:30 Report: Muller testimony dominates Washington Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event MORE’s (R) 7th District, in swing exurban Philadelphia.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyEx-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE Jr. (D), another Democrat running for reelection in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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 HillA true believer in diversity, inclusion Restore Pell Grant eligibility to people in prison Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown 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 HandelMcBath passes on running for Senate GOP buys JonOssoff.com after Democrat launches Georgia Senate bid Jon Ossoff launching Georgia Senate campaign 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 BarrFarm manager doubts story horse bit Pence: report McConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates McConnell campaign criticized for tombstone with challenger's name MORE (R). Gray ran against Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight 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 HensarlingHas Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? Maxine Waters is the Wall Street sheriff the people deserve Ex-GOP congressman heads to investment bank MORE (R), Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonGOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority Privacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R), Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithDemocratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' 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 JohnsonLobbying world Social Security is approaching crisis territory Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonLack of transparency may put commercial space program at risk Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (R), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHong Kong activists visit Capitol Hill Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks MORE (R), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Texas faces turbulent political moment MORE (R), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGOP struggles with retirement wave Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House MORE (R), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsPopulation shifts set up huge House battleground The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today MORE (R), John CarterJohn Rice CarterCornyn faces toughest race yet in changing Texas Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE (R) and Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsHillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America's wireless industry — Lawmaker sees political payback in fight over 'deepfakes' measure | Tech giants to testify at hearing on 'censorship' claims | Google pulls the plug on AI council Lawmaker alleges political payback in failed 'deepfakes' measure As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges MORE (R).

--Updated at 7:31 a.m.