What to track in the 2020 primaries, my week-by-week guide



Congress, state governments, and powerful county officials like prosecutors and sheriff are all on the 2020 ballot — beyond the presidential that has us everyone on edge — so here’s what I’m watching as the elections unfold, with particular attention to races where I can identify some ideological contrasts.

August 11, 2020: Six states head to the polls, including Minnesota, Georgia, Vermont, and Wisconsin

You can catch up with my “live stream” video recap of the night.

Statewide

MN: Senate (GOP)Republicans will pick their nominee, likely against Dem Sen. Tina Smith.Jason Lewis
VT: Governor (Dem)Dems are choosing their nominee, likely against GOP Gov. Scott. Some contrasts.Zuckerman

U.S. House

MN05 (D)Ilhan Omar vs. Antone Melton-Meaux: the 3rd Squad member to face a primary this year.Omar
MN07 (R)National GOPers hope for former Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach this year against longtime Dem target, Rep. Peterson. PreviewFischbach
GA14 (R)QAnon proponent Marjorie Taylor Greene versus Cowan in a GOP runoff for red district. PreviewGreene

Criminal justice and policing

Atlanta: DADem runoff between DA Howard, embroiled in ethics issues, & challenger Willis, endorsed by local police union.
Willis
VT high bailiffsVT has high bailiffs! This wonderful article lays out how candidates are proposing to use it for oversight in Addison & Windsor..Silberman
Sand
WI: DAsI’d love to be able to point toward some exciting DA elections in Wisconsin, but once again nearly no nonincumbent is running — to a staggering extent.n/a

Legislature

MN: DFL Sens. Simonson & Hayden, and Reps. Lesch & Dehn faced progressive challenges from Jen McEwen, Omar Fateh, Athena Hollins, Esther Agbaje. PreviewMcEwen
Fateh
Hollins
Agbaje
WI: SD267-way primary in open Madison-based district, incl. Nada Elmikashi, who has coalesced some left support, and former state Rep. Kelda Roys.Roys

August 4-8, 2020: What if this was the real Super Tuesday? 7 states vote this week

You can catch up with my “live stream” video recaps the night: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Referendum

MissouriWill the state expand the Medicaid program, 5 weeks after Oklahoma? Preview.YES

Statewide primaries

Kansas: Senate (R)Kris Kobach is in the running to get this GOP nomination. Enough said.Marshall
Tenn.: Senate (R)Trump-endorsed Bill Hagerty versus Manny Sethi, trying to run to his right. Preview.Hagerty
Tenn.: Senate (D)DSCC-backed James Mackler vs environmental justice advocate Marquita Bradshaw vs 3 others.Bradshaw
Wash.: Gov (all-party)Who will be Gov. Inslee’s GOP opponent in Nov?Culp
Wash.: LG (all-party)The next LG could become governor if Inslee heads to D.C.. A rundown of the options.All-Dem Top 2

U.S. House

MI13 (D)Rep. Rashida Tlaib faces a rematch against Detroit Council President Brenda Jones. Preview.Tlaib
KS2 (R)GOP Rep. Scott Watkins faces a tough challenge. Arguably easier for Democrats to compete in Nov. if he wins.LaTurner
TN05 (D)Keeda Haynes, a public defender who was sentenced to years in prison over a marijuana-related offense, challenges Rep. Cooper. Prevew.Cooper
MI03 (R)The GOP is vying to keep (take back?) Justin Amash’s seat and is selecting its nominee.Meijier
WA10 (D)In this open Dem-held seat, it’s a 19-way free for all, and the top 2 candidates (of either party) will move on to November. See full breakdown of candidates here.Strickland vs. Doglio
MO01 (D)Rep. Lacy Clay faces a rematch primary against community activist Cori Bush. Preview.Bush

Sheriff

Maricopa Co. (GOP)Joe Arpaio is attempting a comeback. First, he needs to win the GOP primary.Sheridan

Local

Oakland Co. (Dem)Democrats recently captured county executive position via appointment, but now a primary awaits. Preview.Coulter

Prosecutors

Wayne Co. (Detroit)Longtime incumbent Kym Worthy faces a progressive challenger who has pledged to upend local policies. Preview.Worthy
St. Louis, MOKim Garner, a first-term incumbent who has sustained fire from the police union for 4 years, faces a rematch. Preview.Gardner
Maricopa Co., AZIn s punitive county, Dem primary to take on the GOP incumbent. Candidates talk of reform to very varying extent. Preview.Gunnigle
Pima Co., AZA punitive incumbent is retiring. Democrats running to replace her talk of reform but have varying views. Dem primary will decide election. PreviewConover
Honolulu, HIDetermine who goes to runoff. Public defender Esser has staked most progressive platform. Preview. (On Aug. 8)Alm vs. Kau
Ann Arbor, MIThree Democrats running in this open seat reform proposals of somewhat varying scope. Winner, Savit, outlined most progressive platform.Savit
Oakland Co, MIIncumbent Jessica Cooper faces a challenger with reform proposals in the Democratic primary.McDonald
Emmet Co, MIA GOP incumbent sent a mailer touting himself as “truly a Christian” while facing a Jewish opponent.Incumbent
Douglas Co., KSA Dem incumbent faces several challengers, including at least one running on a progressive platform. Preview.Valdez

Legislature

Michigan: HD13Incumbent Karen Whitsett drew attention for praising Trump & hydroxychloroquine, vs. housing ativist Roslyn Ogburn. Preview.Whitsett
Washington: HD23Features Tarra Simmons, a formerly incarcerated advocate who went to WA’s S.C. to be admitted to the bar.Simmons advances
Kansas GOPThe Kansas GOP wars rage on, with Medicaid expansion and abortion in background.

—Sen. Skubal vs Warren (conservative challenger)
—Sen. Goddard vs V. Peck (same)
—Sen. Givens vs M. Fagg (same)
—Sen. Hardy vs Kobach-ally J.R. Claeys (same)
—Sen. Taylor vs A. Straus (same)
—Sen. Berger vs M. Steffen (same)
—Sen. Doll vs. Lon Pishny (same)
—Rep. Kessinger vs. J. Dirks

—Sen. Thompson vs T. Cox (moderate challenger)
—Sen. Rucker (Kobach-ally) vs. B. Dietrich (same)
—Rep. Croft vs. C. Norkey (same)
Warren
uncalled
Fagg
Claeys
Steffen
Pishny
Dirks

Thompson
Rucker
Croft

July 14, 2020: It’s the Maine primaries, and the Alabama and Texas runoffs!

U.S. Senate

Alabama: GOP runoffJeff Sessions or Tuberville will take on Doug JonesTuberville
Maine (Dem)Dems will select Susan Collins’s opponent, with some ideological contrasts.Gideon
Texas: Dem runoffRoyce West or MJ Hegar will take on CornynHegar

U.S. House

AL01, AL02 (R)It’s the Club for Growth (Hightower & Moore) vs Chamber of Commerce (Carl & Coleman) in two GOP districts. PreviewMoore & Carl
TX10 (D)The more progressive Mike Siegel vs. Pritesh Gandhi in race to take on Rep. McCaul. PreviewSiegel
TX13 (R)Former Trump physician and VA Sec. nominee Ronny Jackson (running with Trump, Club for Growth) faces Josh Winegarner in open GOP seat. PreviewJackson
TX17 (R)Pete Sessions is trying to get back to Congress via a redder district.Sessions
TX24 (D)Candace Valenzuela (endorsed by the CPC/Warren) vs. Kim Olson. (GOP Rep. Marchant retiring.)Valenzuela

Criminal justice

Travis Co (D) DAAustin’s DA Moore faces challenge from her left from José Garza, an organizer who wants to shrink footprint of criminal justice.
Garza
Travis Co (D) County AttorneyOffice is in charge of misdemeanors in Austin, and Dalia Garza is running the more progressive candidate & vowing to not prosecute some offenses.Garza
El Paso (D) DANo candidate has focused on reform in this race, missed opportunity for change in big county. PreviewRosales
Fort WorthA referendum on whether to renew a sales tax that funds law enforcement. Preview.YES

Legislature

HD2 (R)GOP lawmaker Dan Flynn faces a challenge from the right. Preview.
Slaton
HD59 (R)GOP lawmaker J.D. Sheffield faces a challenge from the right, with abortion in the mix. Preview.Slawson
HD60 (R)Glenn Rogers vs. “Empower Texans”-royalty Jon Francis. Preview.Rogers
SD27 (D)Eddie Lucio, a conservative Dem (incl. on 2017 ‘bathroom’ bill, faces progressive Sara Stapleton-Barrera. Preview.Lucio

June 30, 2020: Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah

Statewide

CO Senate (D)Hicklenlooper & Romanoff face off to take on Gardner.Hickenlooper
UT Gov (R)Former Gov. Jon Huntsman & Lieut. Gov. Spencer Cox, among others, want to be the GOP nominee for governor in Utah.Cox
UT: AG (R)Leavitt atypically focused on criminal justice reform in his challenge to AG ReyesReyes

Congressional

CO-3 (D)James Iacino and Diane Bush are running in what’s now a possible Dem target.Bush
CO-3 (R)Lauren Boebert ran from the far-right against incumbent Scott TiptonBoebert
OK-5 (R)The GOP choosing its nominee in one of its top targets of the year.Heads to runoff

Referendum


Oklahoma

Would expand the Medicaid program under the ACA, extending ensuring to 200K. Context.

YES

Colorado district attorneys

District 12 (D)
Sanders-endorsed progressive, Alonzo Payne, taking on an incumbent DA in San Luis Valley.

Payne
District 18 (D)Amy Padden, a Sanders-endorsed candidate, has touted criminal justice reform and racial justice. GOP-held.Padden

Oklahoma legislature

HD88 (D)Dem incumbent vs by Mauree Turner, an organizer with the ACLU who (if she also wins in Nov.) would be OK’s first Muslim lawmaker. Context
Turner

June 23, 2020: Kentucky, New York, Virginia

Statewide

Kentucky Senate (D)If you’re here, you know about thisAmy McGrath

Congressional

NY-27 (special)GOP Rep. Collins’s resignation has triggered a special election in a red-leaning CD. PreviewGOP HOLD
NY-15 (Dem)Diaz Sr. would be one of most conservative Democrats in a arch-blue district. PreviewTorres
NY-16 (D)Engel-Bowman. If you’re here, you know about this.Bowman
NY-17 (Dem)Open race, crowded. Incl. ex-IDCer (Carclucci), former prosecutor (Schleifer). Progressives coalesced around Mondaire Jones. PreviewJones
NY-9 (Dem)Crowded primary in Rep. Clarke’s re-election bid, incl. a challenger from the left. PreviewClarke
NY-10 (Dem)Rep. Jerrold Nadler challenged by Lindsey Boylan & Jonathan Herzog PreviewNadler
NY-12 (Dem)Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney faces a rematch against Suraj Patel. Preview?
NY-14 (Dem)Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s first re-election raceOcasio-Cortez
VA-2 (GOP)Former Rep. Scott Taylor going for his old seat.Taylor
VA-5 (Dem)The GOP just ousted its incumbent. Dems will decide who will be Bob Good’s general election opponent.Cameron Webb
VA-11 (Dem)Rep. Gerry Connolly challenged from the left. Preview.Connolly

District Attorneys

Albany (Dem)The former head of the DA association faces a WFP-endorsed challenger. Preview
Incumbent
Tompkins (Dem)Candidates are sparring over incumbent’s handling of a case involving police. PreviewIncumbent
Westchester (Dem)Mimi Rocah is challenging Tony Scarpino in the wake of a scandal involving police. PreviewChallenger
Follow national coverage of district attorney elections.

Local

Queens: borough president (Dem)A five-way race in this “make of it what you will” position. PreviewRichards

Legislative

KY: SD-26 (special)A GOP-held seat won by Trump then Beshear. Dems hoping for a gain. (Karen Berg, the Dem nominee, lost by 5% in 2018.)
Dem GAIN
KY: HD-59 (R)GOP Speaker (David Osborne) faces public ed. advocate Tiffany Dunn. Osborne would be 3rd legislative leader ousted in a past month, if he loses. PreviewOsborne
NY: AD-31 (D)Open race, with a 24-year old WFP-backed activist (Khaleel Anderson) in the mix.Anderson
NY: AD-34 (D)Assemblymember DenDekker faces challengers, incl. WFP-backed Jessica González-Rojas.González-Rojas
NY: AD-35 (D)Hiram Monserrate, the former Dem lawmaker who allied with the GOP and then was expelled for assault, trying to oust incumbent Jeffrion Aubry. ContextAubry
NY: AD-36 (D)Incumbent Aravella Simotas facing a challenge from DSA-backed Zohran Mamdani. PreviewMamdani
NY: AD-40 (D)Incumbent Ron Kim faces a challenger who’s criticizing him for his support for the 2019 criminal justice reforms. PreviewKim
NY: AD-43 (D)Jesse Hamilton, a former IDCer (the group of Dems who allied with the GOP), trying to unseat incumbent Diana Richardson, who campaigned against the IDC in 2018. ContextRichardson
NY: AD-50 (D)47-year incumbent Joe Lentol faces challenge from Brooklyn activist Emily Gallagher. ContextGallagher
NY: AD-51 (D)Incumbent Félix Ortiz faces challengers, incl. DSA & AOC-backed Marcela Mitaynes. ContextMitaynes
NY: AD-57 (D)Incumbent Walter Mosley faces DSA-backed Phara Forrest, a Brooklyn nurse. PreviewForrest
NY: AD-65 (D)Yuh-Line Niou, who drew attention for speech against austerity in March, faces primary challenger.Niou
NY: AD-73 (D)22-year old heir of a real estate fortune is running against Assemblymember Dan Quart (who is running for DA next year). ContextQuart
NY: AD-93 (D)Kristen Browde would be New York’s first openly trans lawmaker, if she wins open race. ContextBurdick
NY: AD-108 (D)Incumbent John McDonald faces a primary challenge from WFP-backed Sam Fein. PreviewMcDonald
NY: AD-149 (D)In open race, WFP-backed Jonathan Rivera vs. DSA-backed Adam Bojak vs. local politician & former police officer Robert Quintana. PreviewRivera
NY: SD-18 (D)Sen. Salazar won with DSA support in 2018; now faces first reelection race. ContextSalazar
NY: SD-25 (D)Assemblymember Tremaine Wright vs Jason Salmon vs. DSA-backed candidate Jabari Brisport. PreviewBrisport

June 9, 2020: Georgia, Nevada, West Virginia

Statewide

GA Senate (Dem)For the state’s regularly-scheduled election, no less than 7 Democratic candidates are running to face GOP Sen. Perdue. PreviewOssoff
WV Senate (Dem)Former state Sen. Ojeda got a ton of attention in 2018, now running to face Sen. Capito against two other Democrats, Swearengin & Robb. PreviewSwearengin
WV Gov (Dem)Who will take on the GOP governor? Stephen Smith is running further to the left against Ben Salango, a county commissioner. PreviewSalango

Congressional

GA-06 (GOP)Karen Handel,who won that high-stakes 2019 special, is looking for a rematch against Dem Rep. Lucy McBath but faces a GOP primary first.Karen Handel
GA-07 (D/R)A Dem pick-up opportunity, but both parties must pick-up nominees first in open raceMcCormick (R); Dem runoff
GA-9 & 14 (GOP)Republican primaries will likely decide the next congresspeople in these red districts.
NV-04 (Dem)Rep. Steven Horsford faces 5 primary challengers, incl. claims he has not been progressive enough.Horsford

Courts


West Virginia: Court of Appeals

3 seats are up for grabs. The GOP has jumped in to help a slate of 3 candidates (Armstead, Dyer, and Raynes) & opposing Neely, a former Dem Justice.

Armstead, Wooten, Hutchison

District attorneys

Atlanta (Dem)
Atlanta’s DA faces two challengers. Reform advocates have faulted the incumbent; the police union has endorsed a challenger too.

Runoff
Chattahoochee (Dem)Just remarkable eventsMark Jones
AthensThe election was cancelled due to the timing of the DA’s resignation and the governor’s appointment.n/a

Legislature

WV: state Senate
Senate President Carmichael, who’s warred with the teacher’s movement, faced a challenge from a teacher, Amy Grady, who had endorsement of teacher’s union.

Grady

June 2, 2020: Iowa, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania

Statewide

Iowa Senate (Dem)Who will face Sen. Ernst?Teresa Greenfield
Montana Gov (Dem/GOP)Will Greg Gianforte get the GOP nomination, 3 years after his body slam? And who will he face if so?Gianforte (R) vs. Cooney (D)

Congressional

IA: CD4 (GOP)Far-right congressmember Steve King faces a competitive GOP primary. Will he lose?Feenstra (beats King)
NM: CD2 (GOP)GOP is choosing its nominee in a seat it’s targeting; Dems interfered to help Yvette Herrell, who they perceive as weaker.Yvette Herrell
NM: CD3 (D)Dems will effectively be choosing the next member of Congress in this open primary.Leger Fernandez
IN: CD1 (D)Dems will effectively be choosing the next member of Congress in this open primary.Frank Mryan
MD CD5 & CD7 (Dem)Reps. Mfume & Hoyer facing challenges. (Hoyer from the left.)Hoyer & Mfume

District Attorneys

New Mexico: 1st DistrictTwo candidates want to wind down war on drugs, but differ elsewhere. Preview.
Carmack-Altwies
New Mexico: 4th DistrictA public defender (Brett Phelps) is hoping to win in this rural area.Clayton
Read more about DAs in New Mexico.

Legislative & mayors


Massachusetts House: Third Bristol (special)

Dems could pick-up yet another seat, after picking up two Senate seats last month.

Dem GAIN
Pennsylvania: SD1 (Dem)Nikil Saval running from the left vs. State Sen. Larry Farnese.Nikil Saval
Pennsylvania: HD20 (Dem)Emily Kinkead has a challenge from the left against State Rep. Adam RavenstahlEmily Kinkead
Pennsylvania: HD34 (Dem)Summer Lee won a left challenge in 2018, and is now facing a primary.Summer Lee
Pennsylvania: HD36 (Dem)Jessica Benham running as a progressive to shift seat left.Jessica Benham
Pennsylvania: HD188 (Dem)Another seat with incumbent facing challenge from leftChallenger
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. Mary Kay Papen facing a challenge from the leftHamblen (challenger)
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. Jon Artur Smith facing a challenge from the leftMartinez-Parra (challenger)
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. Martinez faced a challenge from the leftJaramillo (challenger)
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. Clemente Sanchez facing a challenge from the leftCordova (challenger)
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. Gabriel Ramos facing a challenge from the leftHemphill (challenger)
New Mexico’s state Senate (Dem)Sen. George Muñoz facing a challenge from the leftGeorge Muñoz (i)
Baltimore’s mayorElection intersected with police protests in recent days.Brandon Scott
Ferguson’s mayorFerguson elected its first African American mayor.Ella Jones

Oregon: May 19, 2020

Multnomah County DAProgressive candidate won DA’s office in Portland, in a surprisingly large margin.Mike Schmidt
There were many other DA elections in Oregon, but they mocked democracy.

Ohio: April 28, 2020

Ohio’s CD1 (Dem)Dems selecting who will face GOP Rep. Chabot in November. Preview.Kate Schroeder
Ohio’s CD3 (Dem)Rep. Joyce Beatty faces a challenge from the left (Morgan Harper). Preview.Joyce Beatty
Hamilton County
Sheriff (Dem)
Dem incumbent has faced lawsuits over jail overcrowding and detains people for iCE, which challenger says she would stop. Preview.Charmaine McGuffey
Hamilton County
Prosecutor (Dem)
Two Dem challengers have outlined reform commitments to oust GOP incumbent in November. Preview.Fanon Rucker
Ashtabula County
Prosecutor (GOP)
An interesting GOP primary with a candidate talking of shift away from incarceration. Preview.Colleen O’Toole
Bonus: Maryland’s CD7 (special)Kweisi Mfume is seeking to hold the district for Dems, and return to Congress.Kweisi Mfume

Wisconsin: April 7, 2020

Supreme Court electionJill Karofsky (de facto Dem candidate) is seeking to oust Justice Kelly (the de facto GOP candidate). Preview.Jill Karofsky

Illinois: March 17, 2020

Illinois’s 3rd District (Dem)Rep. Lipinski, one of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. House, faces Marie Newman, a progressive challenger. Two other challengers running too.Newman
Illinois’s 3rd District (GOP)2018 GOP nominee Art Jones, the former leader of the Nazi Party, is running for the nomination again, against Mike Fricilone and Catherine O’Shea.Fricilone
Illinois’s 6th & 14th District (GOP)Who will become the GOP nominees against Rep. Casten (IL6) and Rep. Underwood (IL14)?Ives & Oberweis
Cook County: State’s Attorney (Dem)Kim Foxx, who has implemented reforms as prosecutor, faces three challengers; one has received > $10 million from his father. Preview.Kim Foxx
Cook County: Illinois Supreme Court (Dem)7 candidates are running in an election that has a candidate talking, for once, about how the court sets policy. Preview.Neville
Please visit this separate spreadsheet for information about the presidential primaries.

March 3, 2020: It’s Super Tuesday!

U.S. Senate

Alabama (R)Who will take on Sen. Doug Jones? Jeff Sessions is on the ballot, as is Roy Moore. PreviewRunoff, Moore out
North Carolina (D)The more moderate Cal Cunningham vs the more progressive Erica Smith. PreviewCunningham
Texas (D)Crowded field to decide who takes on Sen. Cornyn. Likely to head to a Top 2 runoff (in May). PreviewRunoff

District attorneys

Los AngelesCould overhaul scope of prosecution in county of 10+ million. DA Jackie Lacey faces two reform-oriented candidates; runoff if no one tops 50%. PreviewRunoff
Harris Co. (Houston)Incumbent DA (Kim Ogg) faces challengers from her left; primary runoff possible. PreviewOgg
Travis Co. (Austin)Incumbent (Moore) faces challengers from her left; runoff possible. PreviewRunoff
Texas runoffs on July 14; California runoff in November.

Referendums

CA: Prop 13$15 billion bond measure to fund schools. PreviewNO
MaineWhether to block a law that’d tighten when parents can waive vaccination requirements for their children. PreviewNO (=law stands)
Los AngelesWould give subpoena power to a civilian commission to investigate the sheriff’s department, and direct it to prepare a plan to reduce jail population. PreviewYES
AlabamaEtowah & Marshall counties hold votes to enable sheriff to use “leftover” funds meant to feed people in jail for other purposes like law enforcement in schools. Learn moreYES

District attorneys

TX28 (D)
The big one in terms of ideological contrast, Rep. Henry Cuellar vs. Jessica Cisneros, challenging him from his left.

Cuellar
CA16In a district held by a Dem (Jim Costa), this will decide whether he faces a progressive Dem challenger or a Republican in November.Costa moves on
CA25Crowded field to replace former Rep. Katie Hill, including Cenk Uygur (D), Christy Smith (D), Steve Knight (R), and George Papadopoulos (R).Smith/Garcia
CA50Darrell Issa (R) & Carl DeMaio (R) have been fighting a very ugly race; who will move to the top 2?DeMaio loses
NC2 (D)NC-2 Former Senate candidate Deborah Ross is one of a 4 candidates trying to get the Dem nomination in this likely-blue seat.Ross
TX12 (R)Club for Growth is targeting Rep. Kay Granger from the right by helping Chris Putnam.Granger
TX22 (R)Can Pierce Bush, of the Bush “dynasty,” get the GOP nomination, or even make it to the runoff?No

Legislature & local

Orange County Districts 1 & 3
Democrats are looking to take control of the county commission by unseating two Republicans, Andrew Do (district 1) & Don Wagner (district 3).
Context

One GOP win; one runoff
CA: AD-9Assemblymember Jim Cooper, who has fought criminal justice reform, faces left challenge.
Context
Cooper moves on
CA: AD-42Chad Mayes, formerly a GOP lawmaker now I, is running against one R & one D. ContextMayes v. R
CA: AD-72Assemblymember Tyler Diep, only R who voted for gig-work-regulating AB5, faces former Sen. Janet Nguyen; Lyft spending against Diep. 2 Dems in too. ContextDiep loses