Analysis: Which Primary Races to Watch on Tuesday (05/08/18)

Overall, 41 Congressional Districts have primaries on 5/8. Over half could be competitive in November. DemWritePress offers a primer on which races to track.

Thus far this election season, only two states have held primary elections: Illinois and Texas. Things are about to change. On Tuesday, May 8th, four states (all of which went for Trump in 2016) will be holding their primaries to nominate Republican and Democratic candidates who will then face off for the next six months, culminating in the November general election.

These four states – Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio & West Virginia – have 41 Congressional Districts between them. Of those, over half are potentially competitive in November (depending on how big the blue wave becomes).

Ten races are overwhelmingly recognized as targets for red-to-blue flips.

To help our readers keep track of what is important on Tuesday night, we’ve included information about races of interest below.

We cataloged the races that have been designated “competitive” by four key organizations: Cook Political Report, DCCC, Democrats Work for America and Swing Left. We also noted any specific endorsements coming from these groups. We’ve included the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index (PVI) for each district – which shows how far districts lean to the right or left in comparison to the nation as a whole.

Highlighted districts are sorted into two tiers:

  • TIER ONE: These 10 races have been identified by three to four of the organizations above as “competitive”. This demonstrates overwhelming consensus by those paying close attention that these are races to watch closely.
  • TIER TWO: These 13 races have been identified by one to two of the organizations above as being “competitive”, and so are also worthy of attention on primary day and afterward.

Ultimately – the Democratic victors in these primary races will be important: they’ll be part of the crop of candidates that will require the greatest investment of time, money, energy & advocacy to ensure that Congress flips in November. DemWritePress will develop profiles of them for our November Democrats series. This series is intended to help guide Democrats nationwide, as we collectively attempt to keep track of which races are vital to flipping Congress blue.

So, here’s the rundown of Congressional District races to watch on Tuesday night:


Indiana: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns

  • IN-02: PVI: R+11; Endorsed Dem(s): Mel Hall; GOP Incumbent: Jackie Walorski
  • IN-09: PVI: R+13; Endorsed Dem(s): Liz Watson; GOP Incumbent: Trey Hollingsworth

North Carolina: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns

Ohio: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns


North Carolina: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns

Ohio: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns

West Virginia: Polling LocationsElection Night Returns

  • WV-01: PVI: R+19; Endorsed Dem(s): N/A; GOP Incumbent: David McKinley
  • WV-02: PVI: R+17; Endorsed Dem(s): Aaron Scheinberg; GOP Incumbent: Alexander Mooney
  • WV-03: PVI: R+23; Endorsed Dem(s): Richard Ojeda; GOP Incumbent: Open


Previous 2018 Primaries

Illinois selected nominees for its four highly competitive districts that have the best shot at flipping red-to-blue in November (Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten, Brendan Kelly & Betsy Londrigan). You can find our profiles of these candidates on our November Democrats page.

All of the Texas Congressional Districts that are likely to be competitive in November are still without a formal Democratic nominee – because of the number of people running, no one candidate earned 50% of the votes in the March primary, so there will be runoffs on May 22nd between the top two Democrats to select nominees.

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