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How to follow Tuesday’s primary elections

<i>Scotty Perry/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>Primary races are taking place in five states: Pennsylvania
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scotty Perry/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Primary races are taking place in five states: Pennsylvania

By Rachel Janfaza, Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo, CNN

It’s election day again with primary races taking place Tuesday in five states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon.

Voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina will choose their Senate nominees for general elections that could determine control of the chamber. There are also key gubernatorial primaries in Idaho and Oregon and crucial House party contests, run under new boundaries following redistricting after the 2020 census.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary is seen as anyone’s race to win, with Donald Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette running close in the polls and plenty of voters undecided. Oz’s struggle to break away from the field after receiving Trump’s support has worried the former President himself as he seeks to strengthen his endorsement record.

Meanwhile, the state’s Democratic primary was met with uncertainty days before the primary when the front-runner, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, announced he was recovering from a stroke. Fetterman’s opponents Tuesday include US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

The Keystone State is also holding primaries to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the presumed front-runner for the GOP nomination, received a late endorsement from Trump Saturday. Other Republicans in the race include former US Rep. Lou Barletta, former US Attorney Bill McSwain and businessman Dave White. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In North Carolina, the Trump endorsement test continues in the GOP Senate primary, which features US Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former US Rep. Mark Walker. Budd won an endorsement from Trump early in the race, but that support did not clear the field. On the Democratic side, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is set to be her party’s nominee. If she were to win the general election, she would be North Carolina’s first Black senator.

Attention has also focused on the GOP primary in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, where firebrand Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces several primary challengers after repeatedly sparking controversy inside and outside Congress. Cawthorn is running with Trump’s support, which he received last year, but North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards in the race.

In Idaho, the Republican primary for governor features a showdown between incumbent Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. The two have had a political tug-of-war throughout Little’s term. On the Democratic side, the leading candidate is running a write-in campaign after he failed to qualify for the ballot, but the primary winner will be the heavy underdog in the deep-red state.

In Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited, the Democratic contest to succeed her initially centered on whether former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof met the residency requirements to run for governor. The state Supreme Court announced in February that he was ineligible to run, but Democrats were still left with more than a dozen candidates in the primary, including former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read. Republicans also have a competitive primary for an office the party last won in 1982. The independent candidacy of former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson could make for a three-way race in November.

The Democratic primary in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District will be an early test of President Joe Biden’s sway in the party, as Biden has backed moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, who is running in a redrawn seat with plenty of new territory. Schrader is facing a progressive primary challenge from Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has been endorsed by several local county Democratic parties and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

What time does CNN’s coverage start?

CNN’s special coverage of Tuesday’s primaries will begin at 7p.m. ET and go until 2 a.m. ET. It will stream live for pay TV subscribers via and CNN OTT and mobile apps under “TV Channels” or CNNgo where available. The series will also be available On Demand the day after the broadcast premiere to pay TV subscribers via, CNN apps and Cable Operator Platforms.

You can also follow along with results on CNN’s decision desk will be monitoring results and will make projections accordingly.

What time do polls close?

In Kentucky, polls for in-person voting close at 6 p.m. ET or 7 p.m. ET, depending on the time zone. Mail-in ballots must be returned by Tuesday. Early in-person voting for all voters took place between May 12 and May 14.

In North Carolina, polls for in-person voting close at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mail-in ballots, if postmarked on or before Tuesday, can be received by May 20. On election day, ballots can be returned by 5 p.m. ET. Early in-person voting began on April 28 and ended May 14.

In Pennsylvania, polls for in-person voting close at 8:00 p.m. ET. Mail-in ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Early in-person voting began in each county when ballots were available and ended May 10.

In Idaho, polls for in-person voting close at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, depending on the time zone. Absentee ballots must be returned by Tuesday. Beginning dates for early in-person voting varied by county but the option ended May 13.

And in Oregon, where all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot, ballots must be returned to drop boxes by 11 p.m. ET or must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Tuesday and received by May 24. Voters could cast ballots early in person at their county board of elections any time after mail ballots were sent out.

Election Resources

CNN Politics has several election-related resources available to readers.

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