May 17 primary races to watch

High-profile senatorial races in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina captured national attention, with 50-50 chamber control on the line in November. There are also a number of US House races that could determine whether the Democrats continue to hold their five-seat majority. The nominees in several of those key contests, as well as competitive primaries in seats considered safe for a party, will be decided on Tuesday.
House elections this year are being held along new congressional lines that were redrawn in the redistricting after the 2020 census. North Carolina and Oregon each got a seat in the redistribution – the state of Tar Heel drops from 13 seats to 14, while Oregon drops from five to six. Pennsylvania is down to just 17 seats, after losing one. There was no change in the number of seats in Idaho (two) and Kentucky (six).

State courts drew the maps for Congress in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Idaho’s lines were approved by a bipartisan redistricting commission. The Oregon and Kentucky maps were partisan affairs, with Democrats drawing the former and Republicans the latter.

1st District of North Carolina

Longtime Democratic Rep. GK Butterfield is retiring, leaving open an eastern North Carolina district that has become slightly more Republican under the new map. Current President Joe Biden would have won the seat by 7 points. Candidates vying for the Democratic nomination include former state senator Erica Smith, a progressive who previously ran for the U.S. Senate before switching races, and state senator Don Davis, who has the endorsement of Butterfield and benefited from spending by United Democracy, aligned with AIPAC. Project. Republican candidates include Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson and Sandy Smith, whom Butterfield defeated in 2020.

North Carolina 4th District

Millions of dollars have been spent in the race to succeed retired Democratic Representative David Price in a deep blue seat that Biden would have carried by 35 points. Democratic candidates include State Senator Valerie Foushee, who has benefited from spending by Protect Our Future, the super PAC funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, and the United Democracy Project; Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, who in 2020 became the first Muslim woman to be elected in North Carolina; and Clay Aiken, the former American Idol star.

North Carolina 11th District

Freshman Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces six main challengers in this western North Carolina district, including State Senator Chuck Edwards, who has the endorsement of the state’s junior U.S. Senator, Thom Tillis. Although Cawthorn has the support of former President Donald Trump, he has sparked an uproar within the GOP for a series of recent controversies. Other Republicans seeking to oust him include GOP activist Michele Woodhouse and businessmen Bruce O’Connell and Matthew Burril. Trump would have raised the seat by 10 points in 2020.

North Carolina 13th District

This race for this open and redesigned neighborhood, which includes suburban Raleigh, is considered a draw by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Trump-backed Bo Hines, a former college football wide receiver, and former U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers lead the pack of Republican contenders. On the Democratic side, former state senator Sam Searcy and current state senator Wiley Nickel are among those seeking to endorse the party. Biden would have won the seat by 2 points.

North Carolina 14th District

State Senator Jeff Jackson, who was previously a candidate for the United States Senate, is the favorite for the Democratic nomination from this new Charlotte-area district. Retired Army Green Beret Pat Harrigan, owner of a gun manufacturing company, is the leading GOP candidate. The Republican National Congressional Committee is targeting that district, which Biden would have carried by 16 points.

Pennsylvania’s 3rd congressional district

Democratic Representative Dwight Evans, who was first elected in 2016 after serving for decades in the state legislature, faces the main challenge from Alexandra Hunt, a 29-year-old public health researcher. Hunt has drawn media attention for shining a light on her personal story – she told CNN she had an abortion when she was 18 and previously worked as a stripper. She has raised $630,000 through April 27, compared to $795,000 for Evans. No Republican has filed for that deep blue Philadelphia-area seat.

Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district

Democratic Rep. Susan Wild is running for a third term in a Lehigh Valley district that gained Republican territory in redistricting. Republican Lisa Scheller, businesswoman and former chair of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, is back for a rematch after losing to Wild by 4 points in 2020. Small business owner Kevin Dellicker, is also seeking a GOP nomination, but Scheller has vastly surpassed him in fundraising. While Biden carried the district under the current lines by 5 points, the redesigned seat would have supported him by less than a point.

Pennsylvania 8th District

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright is seeking a sixth term in his northeast Pennsylvania district that voted twice for Trump. He could face a November rematch with Jim Bognet, who worked for the Export-Import Bank under Trump and has the former president’s endorsement. But Bognet will first have to pass former Hazleton Mayor Mike Marsicano, a former Democrat, in the GOP primary. The redesigned district picked up a few Democratic-leaning areas, but Trump still would have won by 3 points in 2020. Inside Elections considers the general election a draw.

Pennsylvania 12th District

The retirement of Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle has opened up this Pittsburgh-area district, where the Democratic primary has turned into a costly ideological showdown between the party establishment and progressive wings. Attorney Steve Irwin, the head of fundraising, has Doyle’s endorsement. Progressive state Rep. Summer Lee has the backing of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as climate activist group Sunrise Movement. The seat became more Republican in the redistricting, but Biden would still have won by 20 points.

Pennsylvania 17th District

This western Pennsylvania seat is also open with Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb running for the U.S. Senate. Navy veteran Chris Deluzio and LGBTQ Victory Fund adviser Sean Meloy are seeking the Democratic nomination. Businessman Jeremy Shaffer faces two other GOP primary candidates. Biden would have won the redesigned seat by 6 points.

Oregon’s 4th District

Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio is retiring after 18 terms, leaving behind a coastal seat that has become more Democratic after the redistricting. Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. Republican 2020 candidate Alek Skarlatos, the Afghanistan war veteran who helped stop an armed terrorist on a train in France in 2015 and starred in a Clint Eastwood-directed film about the incident, is running again. He lost to DeFazio by 5 points in 2020, but under the redrawn lines Biden would have won the seat by 13 points.

Oregon’s 5th District

Seven-term Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader faces a primary challenge from his left from attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Schrader angered progressives last year, voting against a measure to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, against the initial passage of the US bailout and for Build Back Better only after working to unlink it bipartisan infrastructure bill. He has Biden’s endorsement in the race for the redesigned neighborhood, which stretches from suburban Portland to Bend. McLeod-Skinner has the support of some local party leaders, as well as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and liberal groups such as the Working Families Party and Indivisible. Republicans are targeting the seat. GOP candidates include former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who has the leadership PAC endorsement of House Republican Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik, and businessman Jimmy Crumpacker . Biden would have won the redesigned district by 9 points.

Oregon’s 6th District

The race for this new district, which includes Salem, made headlines recently when House Majority PAC, the super PAC linked to Democratic House leadership, backed attorney Carrick Flynn. Other Democrats in the race, including State Rep. Andrea Salinas, have publicly questioned why the group decided to weigh in ahead of the primary for the Democratic-leaning seat. (Biden would have won by 13 points.) Other Democrats in the running include self-funder Cody Reynolds, who loaned his campaign $2.2 million, and Matt West, a progressive scientist who has published Campaign NFTs. The seat is an NRCC target. Republican candidates include businessman Mike Erickson, who has previously run for Congress, and Nate Sandvig, a renewable energy executive and military veteran.

Kentucky’s 3rd District

Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth’s decision to retire at the end of the term opened up that Louisville-area seat. The Democratic primary includes state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, who has Yarmuth’s backing, and more progressive state Rep. Attica Scott. Either the Democrat would be the heavy favorite in November in a seat that Biden would have carried by 22 points.

Idaho’s 2nd District

Twelve-term Republican Rep. Mike Simpson is challenged from the right by GOP activist Bryan Smith, who ran against him in 2014 and lost by 23 points. Simpson has raised $1.2 million through April 27, compared to Smith’s $661,000 (including a $300,000 personal loan). The winner should have no trouble in November in a seat that Trump would have won by 23 points in 2020.

CNN Greg Krieg and Renée Rigdon contributed to this report.

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