Pivotal 5/22 Primary: Races to Watch

May 22nd is a pivotal primary that could help determine Democrats’ chances of taking the House in November, and could also spell out the fate for Senator Ted Cruz’s Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke – a race in Texas that has huge implications for Democrats’ chances of winning a majority in the Senate.

Up- and down-ballot races are all intrinsically connected. A very exciting gubernatorial candidate can drive people to the polls, affecting statehouse and local races significantly. Likewise, if there are exciting local, state legislative and/or US House district races, the driven turnout can help to boost candidates for statewide offices. This is certainly the case in Texas this year, where Democrats are experiencing their greatest sense of hope since hope was squelched by George W Bush in 1994 – the year he unseated popular incumbent Democratic Governor Ann Richards.

Though Texas’s primary elections were actually in March, nearly all of the key Congressional contests – outside of O’Rourke’s – had such crowded fields of Democratic candidates that nobody achieved clear majorities, precipitating “top-two” run-off elections this Tuesday in a number of districts. Four of these districts are broadly thought of as critical swing districts, and a host of others are potentially competitive. Strong Dem nominees across the board are critical for driving turnout – not only for their own victories – but for O’Rourke’s. Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23 and Colin Allred in TX-32 are broadly considered candidates that will drive GOP defeats – and potentially up-ballot victories – in fall.

Texas isn’t the only state with important contests this Tuesday.

Georgia has two key districts that are broadly considered potential red-to-blue flips: GA-06 and GA-07. The 6th district was made famous last year when Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a hotly contested and extremely expensive special election. But this time around – because of the groundwork laid in 2017 – Tuesday’s victor will benefit from a more experienced batch of Democratic activists and a more robust GOTV apparatus. In GA-07, Professor and policy expert Carolyn Bourdeaux is considered a strong contender who could help drive local turnout in support of the expected Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams.

Also on Tuesday are primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky. Each state has a key district highlighted as a potential red-to-blue flip. In AR-02, Clarke Tucker is the odds-on favorite to challenge vulnerable GOP incumbent French Hill. Kentucky is entering the mix with a hot primary race in KY-06.

Races to Watch

To help our readers sift through all of these primary races and the literally thousands of Democratic candidates across the country, we started a feature called November Democrats. This page highlights Dem party nominees who are competing in critical swing districts this fall. After Tuesday, primary victors from TX, GA, AR & KY will join this growing list of November Democrats.

Here are the races to watch for on Tuesday. Races are featured below if they are highlighted by one or more of the following organizations as being competitive districts: DCCC; Democrats Work For America; Swing Left; The Cook Political Report.


19929-blue-star-design = CRITICAL: Race was highlighted by three to four of the key assessment organizations.

big-star-clip-art-9 = IMPORTANT: Race was highlighted by one to two of the key assessment organizations.

Candidates are listed below if they have been specifically featured by one of the organizations above.


19929-blue-star-design AR-02: Clarke Tucker – Candidate Site


19929-blue-star-design GA-06: Bobby Kaple – Candidate Site

19929-blue-star-design GA-07: Carolyn Bourdeaux – Candidate Site


19929-blue-star-design KY-06: Amy McGrath – Candidate Site


19929-blue-star-design TX-07: Lizzie Pannill Fletcher – Candidate Site

19929-blue-star-design TX-21: Joseph Kopser – Candidate Site

19929-blue-star-design TX-23: Gina Ortiz Jones – Candidate Site

19929-blue-star-design TX-32: Colin Allred – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-03: Lorie Burch – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-06: Jana Lynne Sanchez – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-10: Mike Siegel – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-22: Sri Preston Kulkami – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-25: Julie Oliver – Candidate Site

big-star-clip-art-9 TX-31: Christine Mann – Candidate Site

One thought on “Pivotal 5/22 Primary: Races to Watch

  1. Great job Nick. You’re providing a valuable resource in preparation for the 2018 mid-terms. We can’t get complacent!!

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