How to follow Tuesday’s primary elections

Washington, DC

It’s election day again with primary races are taking place Tuesday in five states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon.

Voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina will choose their Senate nominees for general elections that could determine control of the chamber. There are also key gubernatorial primaries in Idaho and Oregon and crucial House party contests, run under new boundaries following redistricting after the 2020 census.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary is seen as anyone’s race to win, with Donald Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette running close in the polls and plenty of voters undecided. Oz’s struggle to break away from the field after receiving Trump’s support has worried the former President himself as he seeks to strengthen his endorsement record.

Meanwhile, the state’s Democratic primary was met with uncertainty days before the primary when the front-runner, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, announced he was recovering from a stroke. Fetterman’s opponents Tuesday include US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

The Keystone State is also holding primaries to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the presumed front-runner for the GOP nomination, received a late endorsement from Trump Saturday. Other Republicans in the race include former US Rep. Lou Barletta, former US Attorney Bill McSwain and businessman Dave White. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In North Carolina, the Trump endorsement test continues in the GOP Senate primary, which features US Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former US Rep. Mark Walker. Budd won an endorsement from Trump early in the race, but that support did not clear the field. On the Democratic side, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is set to be her party’s nominee. If she were to win the general election, she would be North Carolina’s first Black senator.

Attention has also focused on the GOP primary in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, where firebrand Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces several primary challengers after repeatedly sparking controversy inside and outside Congress. Cawthorn is running with Trump’s support, which he received last year, but North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards in the race.

In Idaho, the Republican primary for governor features a showdown between incumbent Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. The two have had a political tug-of-war throughout Little’s term. On the Democratic side, the leading candidate is running a write-in campaign after he failed to qualify for the ballot, but the primary winner will be the heavy underdog in the deep-red state.

In Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited, the Democratic contest to succeed her initially centered on whether former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof met the residency requirements to run for governor. The state Supreme Court announced in February that he was ineligible to run, but Democrats were still left with more than a dozen candidates in the primary, including former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read. Republicans also have a competitive primary for an office the party last won in 1982. The independent candidacy of former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson could make for a three-way race in November.

The Democratic primary in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District will be an early test of President Joe Biden’s sway in the party, as Biden has backed moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, who is running in a redrawn seat with plenty of new territory. Schrader is facing a progressive primary challenge from Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has been endorsed by several local county Democratic parties and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

CNN’s special coverage of Tuesday’s primaries will begin at 7p.m. ET and go until 2 a.m. ET. It will stream live for pay TV subscribers via and CNN OTT and mobile apps under “TV Channels” or CNNgo where available. The series will also be available On Demand the day after the broadcast premiere to pay TV subscribers via, CNN apps and Cable Operator Platforms.

You can also follow along with results on CNN’s decision desk will be monitoring results and will make projections accordingly.

In Kentucky, polls for in-person voting close at 6 p.m. ET or 7 p.m. ET, depending on the time zone. Mail-in ballots must be returned by Tuesday. Early in-person voting for all voters took place between May 12 and May 14.

In North Carolina, polls for in-person voting close at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mail-in ballots, if postmarked on or before Tuesday, can be received by May 20. On election day, ballots can be returned by 5 p.m. ET. Early in-person voting began on April 28 and ended May 14.

In Pennsylvania, polls for in-person voting close at 8:00 p.m. ET. Mail-in ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Early in-person voting began in each county when ballots were available and ended May 10.

In Idaho, polls for in-person voting close at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, depending on the time zone. Absentee ballots must be returned by Tuesday. Beginning dates for early in-person voting varied by county but the option ended May 13.

And in Oregon, where all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot, ballots must be returned to drop boxes by 11 p.m. ET or must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Tuesday and received by May 24. Voters could cast ballots early in person at their county board of elections any time after mail ballots were sent out.

CNN Politics has several election-related resources available to readers.

  • 7 things to watch in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other primaries Tuesday: Primaries on Tuesday will test how far Republican voters are willing to go in embracing conservative candidates who could struggle to win in November’s general election.
  • Here are the key House primaries to watch Tuesday: Nominees in several key US House contests, as well as competitive primaries in seats considered safe for one party, will be decided Tuesday.
  • ‘He is unconventional’: John Fetterman’s unique persona put to the test in Pennsylvania Senate primary: Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman appears to be on the precipice of winning the Democratic Senate primary, but even some of his supporters wonder about his appeal to a broader electorate.
  • Oregon’s Kurt Schrader, after backlash over breaking with House Democrats, faces primary challenge in redrawn district: A contentious US House primary in Oregon is dividing national and local Democrats.
  • Major outside spending boosts Trump-backed Budd in North Carolina Senate primary: US Rep. Ted Budd, who has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in North Carolina’s open Senate race, appears in strong position heading into Tuesday’s Republican primary.
  • Pennsylvania US Senate candidate Fetterman suffers stroke but says he’s ‘well on my way to a full recovery’: Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the front-runner for the Democratic Senate nomination, said he’s recovering after a stroke, while adding that his campaign “isn’t slowing down one bit.”
  • Oz fights off McCormick’s millions and Barnette’s surge in final days of Pennsylvania Senate primary: Mehmet Oz is promoting himself to Pennsylvania Republicans as the kind of conservative who would “never let you down,” while reminding them that Donald Trump has deemed him the most electable GOP candidate in the race.
  • Barnette’s quick rise has Republicans reeling over potential upset and what it could mean for November: Republicans are watching conservative candidate Kathy Barnette’s sudden rise in their party’s upcoming Pennsylvania US Senate primary with a mix of unease, wonder and dread.
  • As primary day approaches, Republicans and Democrats alike go after Mastriano in Pennsylvania governor’s race: Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano is the presumed front-runner for the state’s Republican gubernatorial nomination. On Saturday, he earned a last-minute endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Mastriano has been one of the leading peddlers in Pennsylvania of Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
  • Fights over school boards share ballot with North Carolina’s Senate primary: North Carolina’s Senate race is among the most competitive in the nation this year. But voters across the state are also weighing in on highly contested school board races fueled by parents who felt voiceless throughout the pandemic and a conservative focus on how topics like race and sex are taught in public schools.
  • Why May matters for the future of the Senate: A play-by-play explainer laying out what’s at stake this month, where the competitive races are and how both parties are approaching the election.
  • The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022: Four states that are hosting competitive Senate races this year have decided or will decide their party nominees this month.

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