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 RomneyHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Statesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race 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 MaloneyWhite House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week Two budget staffers resigned after voicing concerns about halted Ukraine aid, official says MORE, Joseph Crowley and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump House leaders: Trump administration asking South Korea to pay more for US troops 'a needless wedge' Trump administration releases 5M in military aid for Lebanon after months-long delay 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 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority MOREJohn KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Progressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikLawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to allow new parents to advance tax credits CNN's Bianna Golodryga: 'Rumblings' from Democrats on censuring Trump instead of impeachment Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings 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 HollenThe Hill's Morning Report - Dem dilemma on articles of impeachment Graham, Van Hollen warn Pompeo that 'patience' on Turkey sanctions 'has long expired' Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | 'Father of EPA' dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback MORE and former Gov. Martin O’Malley, while Jealous has backing from Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHow can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? Biden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states Buttigieg campaign says 2000 people attended Iowa rally MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' Booker on Harris dropping out: 'Iowa voters should have the right to choose' Booker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race 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 BrownSunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria A dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress 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 TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades 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) HaleyHaley: Dylann Roof 'hijacked' Confederate flag Trump: Kellyanne Conway 'must have done some bad things' to 'crazy' husband Trump says Pence will remain on 2020 ticket: 'He's our man 100 percent' 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 StrangeState 'certificate of need' laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama 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 DelaneyDelaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates 2020 Democrats thank Harris for friendship, candidacy after senator drops out 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 RaskinDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers 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 ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' 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 PolisDrudge faces conservative pushback after mocking Trump's Colorado wall comment Trump says remark about Colorado border wall was made 'kiddingly' Colorado governor mocks Trump for saying he's building wall there 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 BridenstineWhy Voyager 2's discoveries from interstellar space have scientists excited NASA planned expedition to orbit Pluto won't settle whether it's a planet NASA Administrator: 'I believe Pluto is a planet' MORE, who left his Tulsa-based congressional seat in Oklahoma to become the administrator of NASA earlier this year. Rep. Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinLawmakers beat Capitol Police in Congressional Football Game Democrats hold first hearing in push for clean energy by 2050 Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe 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 HoyerHouse approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices 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: 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 Democrats grill BLM chief over plans to move officials out of DC Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE (R) faces El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (R), last seen losing to Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Bloomberg on 2020 rivals blasting him for using his own money: 'They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money' Senators want FERC to protect critical infrastructure from Huawei threats 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.