Election News

Primary Highlights: Stacey Abrams Makes History; U.S. House Incumbents All Win

Some highlights from Tuesday's primaries. Click the state name for full vote tallies from the New York Times.


  • Governor: Stacey Abrams easily won the Democratic nomination. Abrams received over 76% of the vote and won all but a handful of the state's 159 counties. In doing so, she becomes the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in U.S. history. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle received the most votes, as expected, but fell well short of the 50% needed to win outright. Cagle will meet Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a July 24 runoff. Whomever GOP voters advance to November will start out the general election favorite, but this will be one of the most closely-watched gubernatorial races of 2018.

  • U.S. House:  Incumbents ran and won in all 14 congressional districts; 9 of these races were uncontested. All but two of those incumbents look safe in November. Republican-held District 6 and 7, on Atlanta's north side may prove competitive. Runoffs will be held for the Democratic nominee in both districts


  • U.S. House: Incumbents won in all 6 districts. Only the Republican-held 6th district, in the Lexington area, may prove competitive this fall. That was also the location of the most closely-watched primary. Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray for the Democratic nomination.


  • Governor: Incumbent Republican Asa Hutchinson easily won his primary, as did Jared Henderson on the Democratic side. Nearly twice as many votes were cast in the Republican primary for governor in this deep red state. Hutchinson is a heavy favorite to win a 2nd term in November.
  • U.S. House: All four districts are Republican-held; all four incumbents moved on to November. Only the 2nd district, which includes Little Rock, has some prospect of being competitive in the fall.


The Lone Star State held runoffs for those races where no candidate got a majority of the vote in the March 6th primaries. In the Democratic race for governor, Lupe Valdez prevailed over Andrew White. Like Abrams in Georgia, her nomination is historic: She's both the first Latina and first lesbian to win a major party gubernatorial nomination in the state. In a closely-watched 7th congressional district race, establishment candidate Lizzie Fletcher defeated activist Laura Moser. Fletcher will take on nine-term incumbent John Culberson for this Houston-area seat. It is one of the few competitive races across the state's 36 districts.

Links to Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas Election Results

The New York Times has pages set up to track the results for today's primaries in Kentucky, Georgia and Arkansas, as well as the runoffs in Texas. Click or tap the state name below.

Kentucky: Polls close at 6:00 PM local time. The state is split between the Eastern and Central time zones, so that will be 7:00 PM Eastern for those in the western part of the state. The Democratic primary in the 6th district is being closely-contested. This is the only congressional district in the state that looks competitive in the fall. Those results should begin coming in around 6:15 PM Eastern.

Georgia:  Polls close at 7:30 Eastern; results should begin to arrive shortly thereafter.  Both parties are choosing nominees for governor. Democrats will choose a woman (Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans) who will attempt to become the first female governor in the state's history. If Abrams prevails - she has been ahead in the polls - she will attempt to become the first black female governor in U.S. history. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is likely to garner the most votes. Up against several opponents, the question is whether he can get to the 50% needed to avoid a July 24 top-two runoff.

Arkansas:  Polls close at 7:30 Central (8:30 Eastern), with first results about 15 minutes later. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is likely to be renominated, although is facing a challenge from the right. Whomever prevails is expected to win in November.

Texas: Polls close at 7:00 local time, which is 8:00 or 9:00 Eastern, for those in the Central or Mountain time zones, respectively. with results expected shortly thereafter. Results should begin arrive shortly thereafter. These are runoffs for races where no candidate received 50% in the March 6th primary. 

Primary Tuesday: Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky; Runoffs in Texas

Tuesday sees voters going to the polls for primaries in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky. Runoff elections will also be held in Texas, for those races where no candidate reached 50% in the March 6th primary. 

There are no U.S. Senate races in any of the three primary states. Arkansas and Georgia have gubernatorial contests, which are among the 36 such races in 2018. In Arkansas, incumbent governor Asa Hutchinson is expected to move on and seems pretty safe for re-election in November.

In Georgia, incumbent Republican governor Nathan Deal is not on the ballot due to term limits. Although there are frontrunners in both parties, the gubernatorial primary in Georgia looks more interesting both for the personalities on the ballot and because there is some possibility this race could be competitive in November. The Democrats will nominate a woman today, either Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans. This would make a Democratic victory here in November historic:  No woman has ever been elected governor of Georgia. If Abrams were to prevail today and in the fall, she would become the first female African-American governor in American history.

Both Arkansas and Georgia have runoff elections where no candidate gets a majority of the vote. Among other places, that is likely in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial race, where the frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, has four opponents. If runoffs are needed, they will take place on June 19 in Arkansas and July 24 in Georgia.

Poll closing times are as follows:

Kentucky: 6:00 PM local; which is 6:00 PM Eastern for those in that time zone, 7:00 Eastern for those on Central time.

Georgia:  7:00 PM Eastern

Arkansas: 8:30 Eastern (7:30 Central)

In Texas, polls close at 7:00 PM local; which is 8:00 PM Eastern for those on Central time, 9:00 PM Eastern for those on Mountain time.     

Upcoming Primary Calendar

After a break for Memorial Day next week, the schedule picks back up again in June. Here's the full calendar.

June 5:   Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 12:  Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia

June 26:  Colorado, Maryland, New York, Utah

Incumbents, Pennsylvania Women Running for Congress Do Well in Tuesday's Primaries

There were few surprises in Tuesday's primaries in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon. All incumbents running for Congress moved on to the general election, as did the expected opponents for the Senate seats in Pennsylvania and Oregon.

Women running for Congress in Pennsylvania had a big night. The state has the largest all-male congressional delegation in the country. Democratic women won in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 14th, and 15th districts, while a Republican woman won in the 5th district. In addition, the female Democratic candidates in the 10th and 12th districts are slightly behind; these races have not yet been called by the Associated Press.

Looking out to November, both major parties have nominated a woman in the 5th district, all but guaranteeing an end to the all-boys club in 2019. The Democrat is expected to win in this Philadelphia-area district, as well as the adjacent 4th, and is favored to win in the 6th. The 7th district is a toss-up, with the 11th, 14th and 15th seen as safe Republican.

Primary Tuesday: Pennsylvania Voters Cast Ballots in New Congressional Districts

Primaries are being held today in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon. In Pennsylvania, it will be the first time voters will cast ballots in the redrawn congressional districts. All four states have gubernatorial elections this fall; Pennsylvania and Nebraska also have Senate races. Nominees will be chosen today, although none of these six races are seen as highly competitive in November at this point.

Poll Closing Times and Results

Click/tap the state name for results from The New York Times

Pennsylvania:  8:00PM Eastern

Nebraska: 9:00 Eastern (8:00 PM for those in the Central Time Zone, 7:00 PM in Mountain)

Idaho:   10:00 & 11:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM local time for both Mountain and Pacific Time)

Oregon:  Same as Idaho (almost all votes are submitted by mail; voters can also use a state drop box up until the deadline)


As noted above, many voters in the Keystone State will not see their current Representative on the primary ballot as the state's congressional districts have been redrawn. 

Looking at the House ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball, 6 of the state's districts look competitive or potentially competitive in the fall, while 7 are safe Republican, 5 safe Democrat. FiveThirtyEight has a good overview of some of the more interesting primaries here, as well as races to watch in the other three states.

Upcoming Primary Calendar

Aside from Memorial Day week, the next month will be very active. Here's the full calendar.

May 22:  Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky

June 5:   Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 12:  Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia

Trump Campaign Team Eyeing Minnesota and Colorado on 2020 Electoral Map

Axios reports that the Trump re-election team is looking to expand the map in 2020, eyeing Minnesota and Colorado as possible pickups. While no state has voted Democratic in more consecutive elections than Minnesota, Trump came close to an upset there in 2016. He lost by just 1.5%, despite the fact that his campaign made very little effort. In Colorado, which has been more of a swing state, the belief is that the administration's hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement will help.

Trump won the 2016 election by flipping six states and a district in Maine from blue to red. These included Florida, Ohio and Iowa, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The latter three had not voted Republican in more than a quarter century. At the same time, his victory margin in all three was less than 1%. 

Overall, the 2016 election was competitive in many more states than 2012. 11 states plus one district in Nebraska were decided by less than 5%, compared to just 4 in 2012. Those are shown as toss-up on the map below. 

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
There are 903 days until the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Charlie Dent Resigns, Creating 7th House Vacancy; Update on Special Elections

After delivering a farewell speech last Thursday, Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) resigned from Congress on Saturday. The Pennsylvania Republican had previously announced his intention to leave prior to the end of his term.

There are now seven vacancies in the U.S. House, which is controlled by Republicans by a 235-193 margin.

Special Elections

All seven vacancies will be filled via special election, with the winner serving out the remainder of the term. Two of the vacancies are in Pennsylvania, the 7th (Pat Meehan) and 15th (Dent). Those seats will be filled on November 6th, the same date as the midterm elections. Given the state's redistricting, voters within those current district borders will choose a replacement while separately choosing a Representative for the next Congress in their newly drawn district.

Ratings Changes from Sabato's Crystal Ball

Sabato's Crystal Ball has updated a few race ratings for the November elections. They also discuss a few other contests where changes were considered, along with a recap of this past Tuesday's key primary results.

The maps below reflect their current ratings for Senate, House and governor. Click or tap any of them for an interactive version.


  • Tennessee, where polling has indicated a very competitive race, moves from likely R to leans R
  • West Virginia, where Republicans chose the more electable of two political outsiders, moves from leans R to toss-up

Republicans currently have a 51-49 edge; Democrats need a net gain of two to take control. That is an uphill climb in a year where the party is defending 26 of the 35 seats up for election, including 10 won by Donald Trump in 2016. 


  • NC-9, where incumbent Robert Pittenger (R) lost in Tuesday's primary, moves from leans R to toss-up 
  • OH-16, based on the nominees chosen on Tuesday, moves from likely R to safe R
  • FL-25 saw the entry of a credible Democratic challenger and moves from safe R to likely R (this change was made last week and is not discussed in the article)

Of the 54 seats seen as most competitive (rated toss-up or leaning), Republicans hold 49 of them. This includes the vacant OH-12, which will be filled by a special election in August. 218 seats are needed for control.


  • Massachusetts, where popular governor Charlie Baker is well-positioned for re-election, moves from likely R to safe R

There are 36 gubernatorial elections in 2018. 

Updating House Retirements: After Tuesday's Primaries, Four Members Need a Plan B

On Tuesday, North Carolina Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger lost his battle for renomination to pastor Mark Harris. He is the first House incumbent to lose a primary challenge this year. With this involuntary retirement, there are now 54 current members of the U.S. House not running for re-election to their seats this November.

Of the 54 departures, 11 were running for U.S. Senate at the beginning of the week. That number is now eight, as three of the four that had primaries on Tuesday were defeated. In Indiana, Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer were defeated, as was Rep. Evan Jenkins in West Virginia. Only Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio moved on to the general election.

The full list of retirements has been updated. Note that one of the 54, Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania is expected to resign in the upcoming weeks.

Where to Follow the Primary Results Online

Results of some key races. Use the state links further down on the page to see vote tallies

  • West Virginia Senate: Patrick Morrisey, the state's Attorney General, has won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. As expected, incumbent Joe Manchin was renominated on the Democratic side, although his roughly 70-30% victory seems a bit weak
  • Ohio Senate: Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16) won the Republican nomination
  • Ohio Governor: Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau won their respective party nominations
  • Indiana Senate: Former state Rep. Mike Braun defeated two sitting congressmen for the Republican nomination
  • North Carolina 9th Congressional District: 3rd term incumbent Republican Rob Pittenger lost to Rev. Mark Harris


The New York Times has pages set up to track the results for today's primaries in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. Click or tap the state name below. All times are Eastern.

In addition to the statewide races mentioned below, there will be primaries for the U.S. House, and various state/local races.

West Virginia: Polls close at 7:30 PM; the first results are anticipated at 7:50 PM. The three-way battle for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination is the biggest race. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is expected to easily win renomination.

Ohio:  Polls close at 7:30; results should begin to arrive by 8:00 PM.  Five candidates are vying for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has no opposition. Both parties have a competitive primary for governor; incumbent John Kasich cannot run due to term limits. There's also an interesting question about redistricting that is being voted on. The current process has left the Buckeye State as one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

Indiana:  Polls close in most of the state at 6:00 PM; the Central Time Zone areas close at 7:00 PM. As in West Virginia, three Republicans are battling for the nomination. Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is running uncontested.

North Carolina: Polls close at 7:30 with results expected shortly thereafter. Neither U.S. Senate seat is up in 2018.