Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries

Voters in six states — Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah — head to the polls Tuesday to pick nominees in critical races ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Leading contenders include two African-American candidates fighting to become Maryland’s next governor, the first openly gay man with a strong shot at a governorship and a former presidential nominee who’s likely to claim a seat in the U.S. Senate.

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Here are the key races to watch as results roll in:

Romney will finally beat Kennedy

Twenty-four years ago, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Veterans group seeks Trump apology for comments on brain injuries | Pentagon says dozens of troops suffered traumatic injuries after attack | Trump unveils Space Force logo Lindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Senators push Pentagon on Syria strategy after withdrawal uproar, Soleimani strike MORE began his political career by mounting a surprisingly strong challenge to then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Romney came up short, but his first race put him on a path that led to the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Now, running to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah), Romney is likely to exact a small measure of revenge against a Kennedy — though not one who’s related to the Massachusetts clan. A poll conducted last week showed Romney leading state Rep. Mike Kennedy (R) 65 percent to 23 percent.

Romney is all but certain to skate to the Senate in November. He will face Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson (D). Utah has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Frank Moss won reelection in 1970. Hatch beat Moss six years later.

Big races in the Big Apple

New York voters will pick party nominees in federal races Tuesday, though they have to wait until September to nominate candidates for statewide office.

Four incumbents face credible threats in their home districts, led by Rep. Dan Donovan (R), whose predecessor, ex-Rep. Michael Grimm (R), is mounting a comeback bid. Democratic Reps. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation Overnight Energy: Appeals court tosses kids' climate suit | California sues Trump over fracking | Oversight finds EPA appointees slow-walked ethics obligations Oversight finds EPA political appointees slow-walked ethics obligations MORE, Joseph Crowley and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelUS officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request MORE are under pressure too, though all three remain the heavy favorites in their New York City-based seats.

Democrats see opportunities this year to capture at least four upstate districts held by Republicans, especially if a blue wave begins to develop. The party faces competitive primaries in districts held by GOP Reps. John FasoJohn James FasoThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads MOREJohn KatkoJohn Michael KatkoDCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements Bezos phone breach escalates fears over Saudi hacking House Democrats request briefings on Iranian cyber threats from DHS, FCC MORE and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team Lawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown MORE. Democrats rallied around state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D), who’s mounting a bid against Rep. Claudia Tenney (R).

And observers expect state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D) to claim the Democratic nomination in New York’s 25th District, left vacant by the death of Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterHouse passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter MORE (D) earlier this year.

Future of Democratic Party at stake in Maryland

Only two African-Americans have won governorships in U.S. history. On Tuesday, Maryland voters will face an almost unprecedented showdown between two prominent African-American candidates running for the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The front-runners are Rushern Baker, the Prince George’s County executive, and Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP. A third leading contender, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, died suddenly last month.

Baker is seen as the more pragmatic candidate, while Jealous has raced to embrace a more progressive agenda. The results will hint at which direction voters in this deeply blue state want their party to take. Baker has support from local Democratic stalwarts like Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenFox's Napolitano: There is 'ample and uncontradicted' evidence supporting Trump's removal from office Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation Democrats shoot down talk of Bolton, Hunter Biden witness swap MORE and former Gov. Martin O’Malley, while Jealous has backing from Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Human Rights Campaign president rips Sanders's embrace of Rogan endorsement MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power MORE (D-Calif.).

Polls show a tight race, with Jealous on the rise. But Baker has a firm base in the vote-rich Washington suburbs; four years ago, when then-Lt. Gov. Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownOvernight Defense: Dems raise pressure on Esper to block border wall funds | Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate | Day one dominated by fight over rules House Dems express 'deepening concern' over plans to take .2B from Pentagon for border wall Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa MORE (D) won the Democratic primary, he took 50,000 more votes out of Prince George’s County than his two leading rivals combined.

The winner faces a tough task in November against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R), whose approval rating even among Democrats is north of 50 percent. But in a blue wave, the Democratic nomination is worth having: Maryland’s last Republican governor, Bob Ehrlich, lost his reelection bid to O’Malley even though his approval rating was strong.

McMaster in command

A majority of South Carolina Republicans voted against Gov. Henry McMaster (R) in this month’s gubernatorial primary, sending him to a runoff against businessman John Warren (R).

Warren has won support from the third- and fourth-place finishers in the race, and from Rep. Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE (R), who represents a district just south of the North Carolina state line. He’s spent freely of his own money in hopes of scoring a big upset in his first run for office.

But McMaster will get a big boost Monday when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE travels to the Palmetto State to stump for the incumbent. McMaster, the first statewide official to endorse Trump during the 2016 GOP primary season, is in office because of Trump: He ascended after Trump picked his predecessor, Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyIs Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? Judd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death MORE, to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump’s endorsement hasn’t always guaranteed victory — just ask former Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe biggest political upsets of the decade State 'certificate of need' laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (R-Ala.) and Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R). But in South Carolina, the last-minute stop may be the edge McMaster needs to get those final few percentage points to get to 50.

The most expensive primary

David Trone made his fortune building Total Wine & More into one of the country’s biggest booze purveyors. In the last four years, he’s spent a ton of that fortune trying to win a seat in Congress.

Trone faces a crowded field of Democrats in the race to replace 2020 presidential candidate Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules Elizabeth Warren moves 'bigly' to out-trump Trump DNC goof: Bloomberg should be on debate stage MORE (D), in a heavily gerrymandered district that stretches from the D.C. suburbs into Western Maryland.

When he ran for an open seat in a neighboring district in 2016, Trone spent more than $13 million of his own money — and finished second in the Democratic primary. This year, he’s given his campaign more than $10 million. But unlike last cycle, Trone doesn’t face a challenger with the grass-roots following of someone like Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation Maryland Rep. Raskin endorses Warren ahead of Iowa caucus Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders MORE (D), who won that pricey primary despite being grossly outspent.

Trone’s most prominent challengers are state Sen. Roger Manno (D) and state Del. Aruna Miller (D). Miller is the only candidate to have raised more than $1 million. The winner of the Democratic primary is likely to keep control of a seat where Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Sekulow vows Bidens, Ukraine will be part of Trump impeachment defense Elizabeth Warren: More 'Hillary' than Hillary MORE beat President Trump by a 56 percent to 40 percent margin in 2016.

Picking Hickenlooper’s successor in Colorado

The candidates vying to replace term-limited Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) have already spent a combined $24.6 million — more than twice what Hickenlooper and his GOP foe spent on the entire gubernatorial election four years ago.

Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado governor pardons woman who sought sanctuary in churches to avoid deportation Democrats spend big to put Senate in play Drudge faces conservative pushback after mocking Trump's Colorado wall comment MORE (D) leads the spending race, having given his own campaign $11.2 million. He also leads former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), who won the most delegates in internal party caucuses, former state Sen. Mike Johnston (D) and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D).

On the GOP side, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) has support from most of the state’s prominent Republicans. He faces a challenge from former state Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) and Doug Robinson (R), a wealthy investment banker.

The Republican race is something of a dynastic clash. Stapleton is the second cousin of former President George W. Bush, while Robinson is Mitt Romney’s nephew.

Both national Democrats and Republicans intend to take the race seriously in the fall, in a state where gubernatorial elections have been closely fought in recent years. Democrats are on a three-game winning streak right now; Republicans last elected a governor in 2002, when Bill OwensWilliam (Bill) Lewis OwensBlack pastor tells CNN's Lemon that Trump doesn't 'just attack black people. He attacks anybody' Trump leans into Baltimore controversy by criticizing Sharpton Steve Kroft bids farewell to '60 Minutes' after 30 seasons MORE won reelection.

Oklahoma thunder

A generation of pent-up Republican ambition is unleashing itself in Oklahoma, where a half-dozen promising contenders are competing for the chance to replace term-limited Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

If no candidate reaches a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will head to an Aug. 28 runoff. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) and former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R) lead recent polls, though self-funding businessman Kevin Stitt (R) has poured big money into his own campaign.

State Auditor Gary Jones (R), former state Rep. Dan Fisher (R) and former U.S. Attorney Gary Richardson (R) are struggling to gain traction.

The ultimate winner will likely face Drew Edmondson (D), a former Oklahoma attorney general and the last Democrat to win a statewide election.

Edmondson may appear to be a long shot in a state Trump won by 36 points in 2016, but Democrats have a history of doing well in Oklahoma gubernatorial races. Fallin’s predecessor, Brad Henry (D), served two terms, and Republicans haven’t elected two consecutive governors since Henry Bellmon and Dewey Bartlett in the 1960s.

In the back of your mind

A busy field of Republicans is vying for the right to replace Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineCongress greenlights NASA's crewed moon lander — sort of Boeing launches first Starliner test flight Doug Loverro's job is to restore American spaceflight to the ISS and the moon MORE, who left his Tulsa-based congressional seat in Oklahoma to become the administrator of NASA earlier this year. Rep. Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinOvernight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans push back on bipartisan bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners Lawmakers beat Capitol Police in Congressional Football Game MORE (R-Okla.) faces three primary challengers.

Attorney Jason Crow (D) is expected to easily win his party's nomination to face Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Colo.) in the Denver suburbs. Crow’s main challenger, Levi Tillemann (D), complained that the deck was stacked against him after House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate MORE (D-Md.) asked him to leave the race earlier this year.

Two prominent Democrats are fighting for the right to replace Polis in his Boulder-based seat. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has endorsed former University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse, while some progressive groups are behind former Boulder County Democratic Party chairman Mark Williams, an Air Force veteran.

Rep. Doug LambornDouglas (Doug) LambornOvernight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel Overnight Energy: Democrats grill BLM chief over plans to move headquarters | EPA moves to end its use of animal testing | Top NOAA official defends Trump over Alabama forecast MORE (R) faces El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (R), last seen losing to Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetImpeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary MORE (D) in 2016, and state Sen. Owen Hill (R) in a Colorado Springs-based district.

And Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah), fresh off his special election win earlier this year, will face a rematch against former state Rep. Chris Herrod (R), who finished second in that special election. A Salt Lake Tribune poll of Utah Republicans found Curtis leading Herrod by a whopping 57 percent to 21 percent margin.

--This report was updated at 1:53 p.m.