What to Watch in the June 28 Primaries

Voters in seven states are resolving their primaries today, choosing nominees for high-profile races for governor and Senate, but also for consequential local offices like county clerk and prosecutor that will shape the future of election administration or the death penalty. Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah are voting for their regular primaries (though New York’s congressional primaries and state Senate primaries will be held in August), while in Mississippi and South Carolina voters are headed back to the polls for runoffs. Also, parts of Nebraska are hosting a special election for Congress.

Here are 47 elections to watch on June 28, and why they matter, as prepared by Bolts editor Daniel Nichanian. More may be added to our cheat sheet through Election Day.

Check back on Election Night as we fill in each result in the second column. And support us to sustain this work.


Colorado (GOP)

Republicans are deciding between Heidi Ganahl and Greg Lopez to take on Governor Jared Polis, though the Denver Post points out both candidates are drawing attention by being coy about their views.
Illinois (GOP)

Wild amounts of money are pouring into this primary as a crowded field of Republicans hope to take on the Democratic governor. Of note: Democrats are spending to boost the primary prospects of far-right state Senator Darren Bailey, who they view as easier to beat. Bailey, for instance, is running on banning abortion.
New York (Dem)

Governor Kathy Hochul is seeking a full term after replacing Andrew Cuomo. She faces Tom Suozzi from her right, and Jumaane Williams from her left, as well as other candidates.
New York (GOP)

Republicans haven’t won this office in 16 years, and are now choosing their nominee in a crowded field that includes the son of Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin.

U.S. Senate

Colorado (GOP)

Democrats have been spending big to boost the prospect of far-right lawmaker Ron Hanks over Joe O’Dea, thinking he’d be a weaker opponent for Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet to face in November.
Oklahoma (GOP)

A special election triggered by Jim Inhofe’s announced resignation has drawn a very crowded field, including Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Trump’s EPA administration Scott Pruitt. OU Daily previews all candidates.
Runoff: Mullin vs. Shannon
Utah (GOP)

U.S. Senator Mike Lee faces two challengers, Becky Edwards and Ally Isom, who are running as more moderate alternatives. Both opposed Trump in 2020, writes the Salt Lake Tribune in its preview.

Other statewide elections

New York | Lieut. Governor (Dem)

Antonio Delgado left Congress to become lieutenant governor after Hochul chose him. He faces Ana-Maria Archila, who is running with left support (including an endorsement from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and Diana Reyna, a former aide to Eric Adams. The New York Times previews.
Oklahoma | Auditor (GOP)

Incumbent Cindy Byrd audited a charter school network, which she claims sparked a dark money-fueled campaign to unseat her in retaliation. The Tulsa World previews.
Oklahoma | Labor Commissioner (GOP)

Incumbent Leslie Osborn faces lawmaker Sean Roberts, who has sought to grab attention over election issues, including a bill to require every Oklahoman to re-register to vote.
South Carolina | Superintendent

The incumbent for this office, which has powers over education, is retiring. Kathy Maness, who heads a teacher advocacy group, faces the more conservative Ellen Weaver, who is running on rhetoric like stopping “woke indoctrination.” But Maness is also tacking to the right. The State previews.

U.S. House primaries

CO-03 (GOP)

High-profile Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert faces a primary challenge from the less conservative state senator Don Coram. Some local Democrats changed their registration to vote in this GOP primary (though Democrats are also picking their own nominee).
CO-05 (GOP)

Incumbent Doug Lamborn faces ethics allegations, and now a primary challenge from conservative lawmaker Dave Williams.
IL-01 (Dem)

A very crowded Democratic primary will decide the next member of Congress from this open, staunchly blue Chicago district.
IL-03 (Dem)

Another open race that will decide the next member of Congress. Chicago alderman Gil Villegas faces Delia Ramirez, who is running to his left.
IL-06 (Dem)

Marie Newman’s win over the conservative Democrat Dan Lipinski was one of the chief primaries of 2020. Two years later, she faces another Democratic member of Congress, Sean Casten, due to redistricting.
IL-07 (GOP)

Danny Davis faces a primary challenge from his left by Kina Collins. The 19th previews.
IL-13 (GOP)

This is a battle between Republican incumbents, Rodney Davis and Mary Miller, who is running with Trump’s endorsement and a record that’s far to the right. Just days ago, Miller called the Dobbs decision a “victory for white life.” Miller has attacked Davis for voting for a Jan. 6 commission.
MS-03 (GOP)

Incumbent Michael Guest is one of the rare Republicans who voted in favor of the Jan. 6 committee, though he later said he wished to probe Nancy Pelosi’s role. He faces a challenge from his right from Michael Cassidy, who unexpectedly finished first in the first round.
MS-04 (GOP)

Local sheriff Mike Ezell is taking on incumbent Steven Palazzo, who’s under an ethics investigation, in this runoff.
UT-01 (GOP)

Blake Moore faces two challengers, including Andrew Badger, running to his right.

U.S. House: Special


Republicans are favored to keep this red seat. What is extraordinary here is the state’s decision to hold this special election (which is meant to decide who fills a vacant seat through the end of the year) under the state’s new congressional map (which is meant to only come into effect with the new Congress in 2023). This means that some Nebraskans will have two U.S. representatives (and some Nebraskans will have none) for months.

Legislative primaries

CO | HD6 (Dem)

Elisabeth Epps, an abolitionist organizer who has fueled reforms in recent years in Colorado, is seeking to join the state House. She faces Katie March in this Denver primary. The Denver Post previews.
IL | SD10, HD6 and 19 (Dem)

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is hoping to defeat Democratic incumbents Robert Martwick, Sonya Harper, and Lindsey LaPointe.
Martwick, Harper, and LaPointe
NY | HD35 (Dem)

Hiram Monserrate, who allied with the GOP in the late 2000s and was then expelled from the Senate over domestic violence accusations, is trying a comeback by challenging incumbent Jeffrion Aubry.
NY |
HD66 (Dem)

The primary between incumbent Deborah Glick and Ryder Kessler is the clearest example of the debates on development, zoning, and affordability, City Limits reports.
NY | AD54, 70, 81, 82, 103 (Dem)

Many Democratic incumbents face challengers from the left, who are often backed by groups like the Working Families Parties or politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Keep an eye on:

—AD54: Incumbent Erik Martin Dilan faces Samy Nemir Olivares. City Limits previews.
—AD70: Incumbent Inez Dickens faces Delsenia Glover, and is running on blasting “defund” calls.
—AD81: Incumbent Jeffrey Dinowitz faces Jessica Altagarcia Woolford.
—AD82: Incumbent Michael Benedetto faces Jonathan Soto, a former AOC aide.
—AD103: Incumbent Kevin Cahill faces climate activist Sarahana Shrestha, and called these primary challenges a “power grab.”
OK | HD33 (GOP)

Brice Chaffin is challenging GOP incumbent John Talley by pledging a staunchly conservative agenda, just months ago, Chaffin was escorted by police out of a school board meeting.
OK | SD22 (GOP)

Jake Merrick, whom The Oklahoman describes as “one of the most conservative members of the state Senate,” voted against severe abortion restrictions because they didn’t go far enough. He faces challenger Kristen Thompson, backed by the conservative establishment, especially forces supporting voucher programs.
UT | HD4 (GOP)

Incumbent Kera Birkeland, who has led the way on Republican efforts against trans youth, is seeking re-election.
UT | SD5, 6, 28 (GOP)

Senate leaders Evan Vickers, Ann Millner, and Jerry Stevenson are being challenged from the right in their primaries—a sign of recent shifts in Republican politics. The Salt Lake Tribune previews.
UT | HD18 (GOP)

Alena Ericksen, a far-right activist and proponent of the “constitutional sheriffs” doctrine, is seeking to join the state House in this open primary.

Election Admin.

Colorado | Secretary of State (GOP)

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted for allegedly giving an unauthorized person access to voting equipment, is now running for statewide office to have even more power over elections. She faces a three-way race for the Republican nomination against Pam Anderson and Mike O’Donnell.
Colorado | El Paso County Clerk (GOP)

In Colorado’s most populous county, one of the candidates to take over election administration (Peter Lupia) is rejecting the results of the 2020 election and wants a plethora of changes like ending mail-in voting. Read Bolts’s preview.
Steve Schleiker
Colorado | Mesa County Clerk (GOP)

The Republican primary to replace Peters could bring into power a new clerk who is aligned with her Big Lie views (J. Fisher), or shift the office into the hands of a Republican who has distanced herself (B. Gross). Read Bolts’s preview.
Bobbie Gross
Illinois | Secretary of State (Dem & GOP)

Democratic incumbent Jesse White is retiring after 24 years in office, and both parties are choosing their nominees to replace him.
Giannoulias (D) vs. Brady (R)


Utah | Utah County (GOP)

GOP incumbent David Leavitt announced last year that he would never seek the death penalty, a decision he says was rooted in public safety and conservative principles. Challenger Jeff Gray takes issue with the decision. Read Bolts‘s preview.

Other local offices

Illinois | Cook County Sheriff (Dem)

In the nation’s second most populous county, contrasts on reform issues in the sheriff’s primary are measured. The challenger to the longtime sheriff says his chief priority would be to seek to expand the force with thousands of new deputies, as the Daily Herald previews.
Illinois | Cook County Board, 8th District (Dem)

Incumbent Luis Arroyo Jr. faces a challenge from the left by Anthony Quezada, who has the backing of U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia; the primary, one of many that will shape this powerful body, has also drawn other candidates.

Source of the picture displayed on the social media card: Chicago Board of Elections Commissioner/Facebook.