Your Guide to What’s on the Ballot on May 7 and 14

Indiana, Nebraska, and West Virginia hold their primaries, and it’s a race to the right in many of these elections. Bolts walks you through the primaries to watch.
May 2, 2024
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is not running for reelection, and the May 14 primaries will decide the nominees to replace him. (Photo via Manchin/Facebook)

Indiana is up next up on the primary calendar, on May 7. One week later, on May 14, control of federal and state offices are on the line in Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia. In the three red-leaning states; these primaries will test the hard right’s grip on GOP politics; in blue Maryland, they will settle heated Democratic contests.

On the menu? It’s the first stage of the contests to replace Senators Joe Manchin and Ben Cardin, who are retiring in West Virginia and Maryland, respectively. Indiana and West Virginia take big steps toward deciding their new governors. Nebraskans vote on their board of education, under conservative pressure.

Also, a man convicted for his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol wants to join Congress, as does a coal baron convicted for violating safety regulations over a disaster that killed 29 miners. A GOP lawmaker is seeking reelection in Indiana after he quit his party because its near-total ban on abortion wasn’t total enough. And in a test of dynastic politics, multiple children and siblings of sitting officials are vying for major West Virginia offices.

Elsewhere, some Michiganders will also weigh in on contentious recalls on May 7, in advance of the state’s primaries in July. And residents of Anchorage will choose their mayor on May 14.

Be sure to return to this page on election nights to check the results, as we’ll update this page. And note that this guide is not exhaustive; it is Bolts’ selection of important races to monitor.

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U.S. Senate

Indiana (Democratic primary)

GOP U.S. Senator Mike Braun, is not seeking reelection, and U.S. Representative Jim Banks, who is unopposed in the GOP primary, is the clear frontrunner to replace him. Still, a stumble by the party in 2012 unexpectedly handed Indiana Democrats a Senate seat for one term, and Democrats are choosing their own nominee for the fall: It’ll be either Marc Carmichael, a former lawmaker, or Valerie McCray, a clinical psychologist, the Indiana Capital Chronicle reports.
Maryland (Democratic primary)

Few candidates have spent as much of their own money to win an elected office than U.S. Representative David Trone; he has given his campaign more than $50 million—and counting—as he runs to replace retiring Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. He’s locked in one of 2024’s most hotly contested Senate primaries against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who has the support of most of the state’s prominent politicians.

The winner will likely face Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s former governor, in what could be a tough general election.
West Virginia (GOP primary)

Alex Mooney, a U.S. Representative and Trump ally, supported the former president’s effort to overturn the last presidential election and survived a tough primary in 2022 against a more moderate colleague thanks to Trump’s support. He hoped to ride conservative support again this year to upset Governor Jim Justice, who’s running against him in this GOP primary to replace Democrat Joe Manchin in the U.S. Senate. Mooney again has support from many conservatives who want to shift the Senate far to the right, but Trump’s decision to endorse Justice was a blow to Mooney’s campaign.
West Virginia (Democratic primary)

It will be tough for Democrats to retain Manchin’s seat no matter who they nominate, since West Virginia is one of the nation’s reddest states. Further complicating matters is the candidacy of Don Blankenship, a coal baron who was convicted in 2015 of conspiring to violate mining regulations in 2015 after a deadly incident killed 29 people. Blankenship, who ran for this same seat as a Republican six years ago, now faces Glenn Elliott and Zach Shrewsbury in the Democratic primary.

U.S. House

IN-01 (GOP primary)

This district in northwestern Indiana is one of the key battlegrounds that’ll decide control of the House this year: Hoping to oust Democratic incumbent Frank Mrvan, the GOP’s congressional leadership has rallied around county councilor Randy Niemeyer over two other Republicans, one of whom was the GOP nominee in this district for eight consecutive cycles between 2002 and 2020.
IN-05 (GOP primary)

In a confusing series of events, GOP incumbent Victoria Spartz decided to retire but then changed her mind, calling it a “sacrifice” to run for the House. She also raised eyebrows for her unpredictable behavior during the congressional GOP’s infighting over the Speaker position. Now she’s facing eight challengers in the primary, many of whom entered the race while she wasn’t running and have drawn prominent endorsements of their own.
MD-03 (Democratic primary)

The race to replace retiring Democrat John Sarbanes, who pushed for campaign finance regulations while in Congress, has turned into one of the cycle’s most expensive primaries. Harry Dunn, a Capitol Police officer on Jan. 6, 2021, has raised millions nationwide due to his high profile. State Senator Sarah Elfreth has been boosted by millions in spending from a Super PAC with ties to AIPAC. The primary winner will be heavily favored in this blue district.
NE-02 (GOP primary)

Don Bacon, a Republican incumbent who has held onto this swing district since the 2016 cycle, faces a challenge from his right from Dan Frei, a businessman with support from conservative grassroots.
WV-01 (GOP primary)

Derrick Evans was a state lawmaker on Jan. 6, 2021, when he participated in the invasion of the U.S. Capitol, livestreaming his involvement. He was later convicted of felony civil disorder and sentenced to 90 days in jail. He’s now running for a seat in Congress against Republican incumbent Carol Miller. But in 2021, just hours after Evans was in the Capitol, Miller herself voted to overturn the results of the presidential election.
WV-02 (GOP primary)

With Republican incumbent Alex Mooney running for Senate, this seat is open for the taking, and Treasurer Riley Moore is favored; he’s the only elected official in the race and has gotten a sea of conservative endorsements, including Mooney’s. Keep an eye on the primary, though; one of his opponents, Nate Cain, is running on promises of exposing the “tyranny of the deep state” with the support of former Trump adviser and far-right figure Michael Flynn.

Presidential primaries

Indiana, Nebraska, and West Virginia are each also holding presidential primaries, though Donald Trump and Joe Biden have already locked down their respective parties’ nominations.

State and local


Indiana (GOP primary)

Mike Braun is a U.S. Senator running for governor with the support of Donald Trump, but that wasn’t enough for him to clear the field. He faces four other Republicans, including Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, whose proposal to eliminate the state’s income tax (“Axe the Tax,” as she calls it) has fractured the race; Braun, for one, has suggested the proposal is not realistic.

Crouch has also signaled a touch more interest in finding ways to resume executions, and clearer opposition to legalizing medical marijuana. The winner will face Jennifer McCormick in November, the state’s former schools superintendent who switched parties to run as a Democrat. The sitting governor, Eric Holcomb, is term-limited out of office.

West Virginia (GOP primary)

It’s an unusual lineup in this crowded GOP nominee: Two current statewide office-holders, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Secretary of State Mac Warner, face two candidates who are the children of sitting members of Congress, Chris Miller and Moore Capito. (The winner will be the likely frontrunner in November against Democrats’ sole candidate, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.) Mountain State Spotlight identifies some of the differences between the candidates, but the primary has also been a race as to who’ll sound the most like Trump.

Other statewide officials

West Virginia secretary of state (GOP primary)

Will the office stay in the family? Republican incumbent Mac Warner is running for governor, but his brother Kris Warner, the former head of the state GOP, wants to replace him. He’s facing three other candidates, including Doug Skaff, who spent eleven years as a Democrat in the legislature before resigning last year to run for this statewide office as a Republican. This is the office that oversees state elections. Skaff backed procedures like mail-in voting and drop boxes while in the legislature, though he has faced criticism for this from his new party and has withdrawn his support since becoming a Republican, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports.
West Virginia attorney general (GOP primary)

With the sitting attorney general running for governor, two Republicans are seeking to replace him in this primary: J.B. McCuskey, the state’s auditor, and Mike Stuart, a state senator. Both are vowing to be conservative crusaders on issues like trans rights and environmental regulations, MetroNews reports, and use the office to fight the federal government.

Supreme courts

These three states all have supreme court races this year, but none that will be contested on their primary ballots. Three justices across Indiana and Nebraska will face up-or-down retention votes in November if they want to stay on the court; and in West Virginia, two candidates are running unopposed for open races. Learn more in our nationwide guide to supreme court races.

County and city elections

Alaska | Anchorage mayor

Mayor Dave Branson, a hardline conservative who has faced allegations into his ethics and has a history of controversial statements, is running for reelection. He faces Suzanne LaFrance, a local politician endorsed by the Democratic Party who narrowly bested him in the first round last month.
Too early to call
Michigan | Delta County Commission (Districts 3, 4, and 5)

Three Republican commissioners face recall elections in this Upper Peninsula County, two against independents and one against a Democrat. The recalls were motivated by the firing of a county administrator, as well as by the incumbents’ opposition to DEI initiatives, according to the Mining Journal.
All recalled
Michigan | Ottawa County Commission (District 2)

In an election to be held on May 7, Republican Commissioner Lucy Ebel faces a recall effort triggered by critics of her conservative agenda; the race takes place in District 2. One issue is Ebel’s support for the commission’s decision to eliminate the county Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Legislative primaries

Indiana | Senate District 35 (GOP primary)

State Senator Michael Young stopped caucusing with the GOP in 2022 because he thought the state’s harsh new abortion ban didn’t go far enough; he was angry that his colleagues included exceptions for rape and incest. Young, who has served in the legislature for 38 years, lost his committee leadership positions after leaving the GOP caucus; even as he’s now running for reelection as a Republican, he faces primary challenger Philip Clay.
Nebraska | SD 5 (nonpartisan)

Democrats have blocked some bills through Nebraska’s filibuster in recent years but the GOP gained a supermajority in April when Senator Mike McDonnell, a Democrat who has backed abortion restrictions, switched parties. (Nebraska’s legislature is ostensibly nonpartisan, but candidates receive support from and affiliate with parties.)

But McDonnell cannot run for reelection in blue-leaning SD5 due to term limits, and is sure to be replaced. This three-way primary will decide the two contenders who’ll move on to November. The candidates are Democrats Margo Juarez and Flint Harkness, and Gilbert Ayala, a conservative Republican.
Too close to call


Nebraska | Board of education (nonpartisan)Despite pressure from conservatives, Nebraska’s board of education refused earlier this year to adopt a ban on sexually explicit books in schools. Their decision came in a 5-3 vote, and four of the incumbents in the majority are not seeking reelection this year in Districts 1 through 4. The final decision for each seat will come in November, but the March 14 primary will narrow the fields down to two candidates in Districts 2 and 4. The Omaha World-Herald reviews the field in each race.
Indiana referendumsThree school districts are holding referendums across the state of Indiana to raise nearly $17 million in revenue for academic initiatives and school programming, as well as to raise teacher pay, Chalkbeat reports. Keep an eye on Pike Township, in Marion County, as well as Brown and Henry counties.