Six U.S. House primaries are contested in Kentucky this year—the fewest since 2016

This year’s filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Kentucky was Jan. 5, 2024. 

Twenty-three candidates are running for Kentucky’s six U.S. House districts, including 11 Democrats and 12 Republicans. That’s 3.8 candidates per district, lower than the 5.2 candidates who ran in 2022, but higher than the 3.5 who ran in 2020. 

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • No seats are open this year, meaning all incumbents are running for re-election. There was one House seat open in 2022 and another one in 2016, the only two election cycles this decade in which House seats were open.
  • Six candidates are running for Kentucky’s sixth congressional district, the most candidates running for a district this year. The candidates running include Republican incumbent Andy Barr and six Democrats. 
  • Six primaries—three Democratic and three Republican—are contested this year, the fewest since 2016. Eight primaries were contested in 2022, and seven were in 2020.
  • Three incumbents—one Democrat and two Republicans—are facing primary challengers this year. That’s fewer than 2022 and 2020, when four incumbents faced challengers, but more than 2018 and 2016, when two incumbents did.
  • The 4th and 5th districts are guaranteed to Republicans because no Democrats are running. Republican candidates filed to run in every district, meaning none are guaranteed to Democrats.

Kentucky and three other states—Georgia, Idaho, and Oregon—are holding primaries on May 21. 

In Kentucky, the primary winner is the candidate who receives the largest number of votes, even if they do not win an outright majority of votes cast.