What Primaries to Watch from May 3 to May 10

The 2022 primary cycle, which began with Texas in March, heats up in May as thirteen states head to the polls this month. This Bolts cheat sheet covers the first stretch: Indiana and Ohio vote on Tuesday, May 3, and Nebraska and West Virginia vote on Tuesday, May 10—with referendums and local elections sandwiched in between in Texas on Saturday, May 7. There are also special elections in Michigan and Georgia.

Here are 26 elections to watch in that period, and why they matter, as prepared by editor Daniel Nichanian. Ohio’s U.S. Senate primaries have drawn the most attention, but beneath the national headlines are important elections for legislature, board of education, and prosecutor.

Check back on and after Election Night as Bolts will fill in each result. And also stay tuned as more elections may be added to our cheat sheet.

Statewide Offices

Ohio | Senate (GOP)

May 3
J.D. Vance, Josh Mandel, and Mike Gibbons have incessantly staked far-right positions and courted Donald Trump’s endorsement (Vance got it in April). This may give self-funding lawmaker Matt Dolan, who has criticized Trump, an opening. But the whole field has shifted far to the right.Vance
Ohio | Senate (Dem)

May 3
Ohio has become a tough state for Democrats to carry, but three candidates with clashing visions are vying to have a shot this fall.Ryan
Ohio | Governor (GOP)

May 3
Incumbent Mike DeWine has struggled in the primary, but challenger Jim Renacci, who has dubbed him the “mandate governor”, didn’t manage to get Trump’s endorsement despite his efforts.DeWine
Ohio | Governor (Dem)

May 3
Democrats choose between former mayors John Cranley and Nan Whaley to determine who will get to take a shot at DeWine and his scandals in the fall.Whaley
Ohio | SoS (GOP)

May 3
Secretary of State Frank LaRose is favored against a former lawmaker who has embraced the Big Lie. But LaRose himself has clashed with voting rights groups and dialed up his rhetoric on voter fraud. Read Bolts’s preview.LaRose
Nebraska | Governor (GOP)

May 10
Trump-endorsed candidate Charles Herbster faces accusations of sexual assault, but Trump has doubled down in his support. He faces eight other candidates in this primary, including Jim Pillen, backed by the current governor.Pillen
Nebraska | SoS (GOP)

May 10
Secretary of State Bob Evnen faces two challengers, each of whom is running on fighting purported threats to election security and restricting voting options.Evnen
Ohio has supreme court and attorney general elections this year, but none feature primaries.


OH-07 (GOP)

May 3
Former Trump aide Max Miller is running with Trump’s endorsement. (Miller first challenged pro-impeachment Republican Anthony Gonzalez, who retired.)Miller
OH-11 (Dem)

May 3
This nationally-watched race is an ideological clash within the Democratic Party, and a rematch of a high-profile special election last year: Rep. Shontel Brown faces Nina Turner, who is running again with support from the left.Brown
IN-09 (GOP)

May 3
There’s a crowded GOP primary for this open seat, and the winner will be favored to join Congress next year. The Freedom Caucus is backing Mike Sodrel.Houchin
NE-02 (Dem)

May 10
Democrats are choosing their candidate against GOP Rep. Don Bacon, who won the seat even as Biden carried it in 2020.Vargas
WV-01 (GOP)

May 10
Incumbent Republicans David McKinley and Alex Mooney were thrown together due to redistricting, and they’re far apart on major recent votes. McKinley voted to certify the 2020 presidential election and pass the infrastructure bill; Mooney opposed both.Mooney
Note: While this cheat sheet only looks at two of Ohio’s districts, as many others are not competitive or with uncertain policy ramifications, read Inside Elections’s review of all districts under its new gerrymandered map.


Nebraska | State Board of Ed. (GOP)Conservatives opposed to teaching about gender and homophobia have rallied behind Elizabeth Tegtmeier’s bid to oust incumbent Robin Stevens in this western Nebraska district (District 7).Tegtmeier & Stevens move on from primary.
Nebraska | Local boards

May 10
A conservative group opposed to these teachings has endorsed dozens of candidates for local school boards, The Omaha World-Leader reports. Progressive groups have also formed their endorsement lists.

Legislative primaries

Indiana | State House (GOP)

May 3
A new conservative PAC is supporting dozens of Republican candidates, many against incumbents, including David Hewitt against longtime lawmaker Bob Behning (in HD91), or David Waters against Mark Pierce, who is challenging the public health committee chair Brad Barrett (in HD56), or anti-mask protester Andy Lyons against Ann Vermilion (in HD31).Vermilion
Barrett; Behning
Indiana | SD47 (GOP)

May 3
Among primaries where conservatives are trying to strengthen their power, this one pits two incumbents against each other due to redistricting: Kevin Boehlein faces the more-conservative Gary Byrne.Byrne

Legislative Specials


May 3
Four special elections on May 3rd: Three in GOP-held districts (HD36, 43, 74) and one in a Dem-held district (HD15). All holds except a Dem gain in HD74.

May 3
This is a runoff for a GOP-held seat in the Atlanta suburbs.GOP

May 7
A special election for Dem-held HD147.Dem


Austin, Texas

May 7
Prop A would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and also ban no-knock warrants. Preview.Yes
San Antonio

May 7
A bond measure to fund more affordable housing. Preview.Yes

May 7
Prop 1 and Prop 2 would lower school district property taxes across the state, as the Texas Tribune explains.Yes & yes


Hamilton County, Indiana

May 3
Former VP Mike Pence has endorsed primary challenger Greg Garrison against incumbent Lee Buckingham. Indianapolis TV station WISH reports that Garrison says prosecutors should be more “aggressive,” and he rejects data that shows major racial disparities in charges and sentencing. Garrison
Johnson and Vanderburgh counties, Indiana

May 3
Incumbents Joe Villanueva and Nick Hermann face challengers in very rare contested primaries for prosecutor; none of the candidates in either election are running on platform for criminal justice reforms.Lance Hamner (Johnson Co.) and Diana Moers (Vander. Co.)
No other county of more than 150,000 residents has a contested prosecutor primary across the four states covered on this page (Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, West Virginia).

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