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There are key primaries in New York, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois and Utah today

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention.
Seth Wenig
/
AP
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention.

June's primary calendar comes to a close on Tuesday with five states holding key contests: New York, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois and Utah. Meanwhile, Mississippi and South Carolina are holding runoffs.

Voters in the Empire State will be picking their candidates for governor come November, potentially setting the stage for the first female elected governor in the state's history. And redistricting will have an effect in states like Illinois, where two pairs of incumbents will go head to head for a shot at reelection.

Here are some key races to watch:

New York governor

Current New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is vying to be the first female elected to the state's highest office. Hochul, then the lieutenant governor, became governor following former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation.

Running in her party to oust her is U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Wiliams.

Hochul has led the pack in fundraising, topping $30 million, and is doubling down on key issues including implementing a gas-tax reduction through the end of the year and a series of gun-control and abortion-access measures she signed into law just this month.

But she has also faced blowback from her Democratic opponents for being formerly associated with the National Rifle Association and after her lieutenant governor was arrested on federal bribery charges and resigned.

The GOP lineup to challenge her in November is also full. Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump administration aide who is the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are all pushing to be on the ballot this fall.

Read more from WNYC.

Race for an open Senate seat in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma primary will feature a special election to replace GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Multiple Republican candidates have entered the contest hoping to take over his seat.

The ballot includes former Trump administration Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Inhofe's current chief of staff Luke Holland. Others include a state senator and a state representative, a family medicine physician and Jessica Jean Garrison, who opted to not take donations.

Holland has Inhofe's endorsement.

Oklahoma's second Senate seat is also up for election. Incumbent Republican Rep. James Lankford is leading the pack in terms of fundraising and spending. He faces Jackson Lahmeyer, who has Rudy Giuliani's endorsement.

Crossovers in Colorado

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is unopposed in the primary but two GOP candidates are running to challenge him in November. Progressive groups are trying to influence the Republican primary, with ProgressNow Colorado launching a campaign to boost the more conservative of the two candidates. The group argues that businessman Joe O'Dea, the more moderate GOP candidate, has not been clear enough in his standing on abortion and Trump's voter fraud conspiracies.

Redistricting created Colorado's biggest Latino-dominated district and now Democrats and Republicans are vying for their vote.

And Lauren Boebert, one of the House's most far-right members, is facing GOP challengers and Democratic hopefuls as well. Thousands of Democrats have voted for GOP challenger Don Coram, a state senator, in hopes of knocking Boebert out of a chance for the November election.

Republican voters will also have the chance to pick their nominee for secretary of state, the key state official role that oversees elections in the state. Among those running to challenge Democratic incumbent Jena Griswold is Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted by a grand jury in March on charges regarding an election security breach last summer related to Trump's voter fraud conspiracy theories.

In a statement to the New York Times, Peters said Boebert "encouraged" her efforts. A press officer for the congresswoman said the allegations are false.

Read more on the candidates from Colorado Public Radio.

Illinois showdowns

The Prairie State will have two incumbent vs. incumbent primaries for House seats. Redistricting forced Republicans Rodney Davis and Mary Miller into the same congressional district, as well as Democrats Sean Casten and Marie Newman.

Davis voted in favor of both certifying the 2020 election results and of the investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump has endorsed Miller — even attending a rally for her over the weekend.

Despite not receiving the Trump endorsement, Davis by far leads Miller in fundraising and spending.

In the Democratic incumbent faceoff, Casten leads over Newman in fundraising and advertisement spending.

The winner will face one of six GOP candidates hoping to flip the seat.

Also, the open seats of Democrat Cheri Bustos and Republican Adam Kinzinger are up for grabs.

Bustos announced this spring that she would not seek reelection, leaving Sen. Dick Durbin as the remaining Democrat from the state outside of Chicago. Kinzinger, meanwhile, is one of two Republicans on the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee investigating the insurrection and Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Last-minute endorsements in Utah

On Monday, Trump endorsed in two Republican U.S. House races, throwing his support behind incumbents Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart. Both were predicted to win before the endorsement.

Also on the ballot is Sen. Mike Lee, who is expected to beat back challenges from two other Republicans. Lee could face a competitive race in November from independent Evan McMullin, who is being backed by Democrats and got about 20% of the state's vote running as an independent against Trump in 2016.

Runoffs in the South

Two incumbents were forced into runoffs in Mississippi since neither reached the 50% threshold needed to win the nomination on June 7. Republican Reps. Michael Guest, who voted in favor of the creation of the Jan. 6 committee to investigate the insurrection, and Steven Palazzo, who in 2021 faced an ethics investigation over misused campaign funds, will have one more shot at reelection in their respective districts.

In South Carolina, Catherine Bruce and Krystle Matthews advance to a runoff for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Rep. Tim Scott in November.

Jon Campbell contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.