The in’s and out’s of Indiana’s May 3 primary elections

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. The in’s and out’s of Indiana’s May 3 primary elections
  2. Previewing the Brown-Turner rematch in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District Democratic primary
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many state legislative primaries will Arkansas have this year?

The in’s and out’s of Indiana’s May 3 primary elections

Indiana has statewide primaries for federal and state legislative offices coming up on May 3. Here’s what’s on the ballot and a look at how primaries and candidate nominations work in Indiana.

At the federal level, Indiana is holding major party primaries for U.S. Senate and all nine of the state’s congressional districts. U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R) and eight of the nine House incumbents—two Democrats and six Republicans—are seeking re-election. Of those incumbents, three House members—André Carson (D), Frank Mrvan (D), and Greg Pence (R)—are facing primary challengers.

In the state legislature, all 100 House districts are up for election, as are 25 of the state’s 50 Senate districts. Voters across the state will see more decisions on their ballots at this level of government than at any point since 2014. 

There will be 49 contested state legislative primaries, 20% of the possible 250. This increase was driven by the 40 Republican contests, a 67% increase from 2020. Nine Democratic primaries are also scheduled, a 55% decrease from the previous cycle.

In Indiana, candidates can win a primary with a plurality, rather than a majority, of the vote. The state does not hold runoff elections. This means the candidate with the most votes—even if less than 50% of the total votes cast—wins. In races with more than two candidates—like the Republican primaries in the 9th Congressional District and 54th Senate District with nine and eight candidates, respectively—this distinction can be more noticeable.

Additionally, the only candidates running in these primaries are candidates who filed to run. Indiana does not allow write-in candidates to participate in primaries, but they can run in the general election if they gather enough signatures and file a declaration of intent.

Regarding the timeline, the primary is taking place on May 3, and results will be certified, or finalized, by May 16. In Indiana, each circuit court clerk is responsible for preparing certified statements. There is one circuit court for each of the state’s 92 counties, with the exception of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, which share a circuit court.

These primaries are not the final step in completing the state’s general election ballot. Independent candidates have until July 15 to file. Plus, both major parties also hold nominating conventions. These conventions are different from primaries in that only voting delegates participate rather than a public vote. 

In Indiana, major parties will use conventions to decide their candidates for all three of the state executive offices up for election this year: secretary of state, treasurer, and auditor. Both Democrats and Republicans are holding their nominating conventions on June 18.

Parties can also appoint replacement candidates to the general election ballot. This might happen if a candidate who wins the primary later decides to withdraw. Also, in Indiana, if no candidates from a party run in the primary, the party has until July 3 to opt to appoint a candidate to run in the general election.

If you’re an Indiana voter, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

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Previewing the Brown-Turner rematch in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District Democratic primary

Voters in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District will see two familiar names on their May 3 Democratic primary ballots. U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown and Nina Turner are running in that primary, nine months after the two competed in a special primary election for the district. 

Brown defeated Turner 50% to 45% in that special election. According to FiveThirtyEight‘s analysis, the district is 54 percentage points more Democratic-leaning than the nation as a whole, down from 57 percentage points more Democratic-leaning before redistricting.  

Brown assumed office in November 2021, succeeding Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), who resigned that year to become U.S. secretary of housing and urban development. Brown says she kept her promise to voters by supporting the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which she said would “repair the bridge on Martin Luther King, replace every lead pipe, create thousands of jobs, and finally, every home in Cleveland will have access to high-speed internet.”

Turner says Brown is not doing enough to change the material conditions for poor and low-income residents. When announcing her candidacy, Turner said, “Voting the right way is one thing, but using the full force and weight of the office to fight for things is another.” Turner said she would support Medicare for All, a living wage, and union jobs.

Before running for office, Turner was a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party. Turner worked on U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential election campaigns and served in the Ohio State Senate from 2008 to 2015.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorsed Brown, a change from the 2021 special election when it endorsed Turner. Brown joined the caucus upon assuming office. Brown’s other endorses include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb (D), and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. Turner’s endorses include Sanders, former Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D), and the editorial board.

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#FridayTrivia: How many contested state legislative primaries will Arkansas have this year?

Earlier this week, we told you about an uptick in contested state legislative primaries we have been seeing this year as filing deadlines come and go. In particular, Arkansas is set to hold its most contested primaries since 2014: the number of contested Republican primaries more than tripled compared to 2020, and the number of Democratic primaries doubled.

How many contested state legislative primaries will Arkansas have this year?

  1. 36
  2. 62
  3. 89
  4. 44