Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 Primary Elections

The 2022 primary season kicks off in Texas on March 1, and with the start of primary season comes some big questions about which direction either party will go.  Democrats will be duking out over what direction the party will take after its agenda has largely stalled in Congress, while Republican candidates face tough questions about former President Donald Trump’s role in the party and whether they acknowledge the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

On top of this, the 2022 primary season includes numerous races for offices like governor and attorney general, who will play an important role in certifying election results for 2024 and beyond, adding extra weight to the questions some candidates will face over democracy and the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Wait, what is a primary?  Political parties hold primary elections to select their nominees for candidates who will run on behalf of the party in the general election.  In a primary, Republicans run against Republicans, while Democrats run against other Democrats.  In contrast, the general election determines which candidates will occupy offices that are up for election.

Additionally, different states have different rules on how they conduct their primaries.  These are the four types of basic primary elections:

  • Open primaries, where anyone of any political party affiliation may vote.
  • Closed primaries, where only those voters who registered with that particular political party may vote.
  • Hybrid primaries, also called semi-open and semi-closed primaries, where anyone of any political party affiliation can vote, but can only vote in one primary. 
  • Runoff primaries, where a few states hold a second primary between two candidates with the most votes.  Of note, both Louisiana and Georgia will have runoff races for their general elections scheduled after Election Day on November 8 for the top-two candidates if one candidate fails to win at least 50% of the vote in their most recent primary.

Below is a list of all key primary dates for congressional races with their respective state and runoff status.

March 1TexasRunoff
May 3IndianaOpen
May 3OhioOpen
May 10NebraskaHybrid
May 10West VirginiaHybrid
May 17IdahoHybrid
May 17KentuckyClosed
May 17OregonClosed
May 17PennsylvaniaClosed
May 17North CarolinaRunoff
May 24AlabamaRunoff
May 24ArkansasRunoff
May 24GeorgiaRunoff
May 24*Texas*Runoff
June 7CaliforniaOpen
June 7IowaOpen
June 7MississippiRunoff
June 7MontanaOpen
June 7New JerseyHybrid
June 7New MexicoClosed
June 7South DakotaHybrid
June 14MaineClosed
June 14NevadaClosed
June 14North DakotaOpen
June 14South CarolinaRunoff
June 21VirginiaOpen
June 21Alabama*Runoff
June 21Arkansas*Runoff
June 21*Georgia*Runoff
June 28ColoradoHybrid
June 28IllinoisOpen
June 28MarylandClosed
June 28New YorkClosed
June 28OklahomaRunoff
June 28UtahHybrid
June 28*Mississippi*Runoff
June 28*South Carolina*Runoff
July 26*North Carolina*Runoff
August 2ArizonaHybrid
August 2KansasHybrid
August 2MichiganOpen
August 2MissouriOpen
August 2WashingtonOpen
August 4TennesseeOpen
August 9ConnecticutClosed
August 9MinnesotaOpen
August 9VermontOpen
August 9WisconsinOpen
August 13HawaiiOpen
August 16AlaskaOpen
August 16WyomingOpen
August 16South DakotaHybrid
August 23FloridaClosed
August 23*Oklahoma*Runoff
September 6MassachusettsHybrid
September 13DelawareClosed
September 13New HampshireHybrid
September 13Rhode IslandHybrid
November 8LouisianaRunoff
December 6*Georgia*Runoff
December 10*Louisiana*Runoff

*Indicates runoff election date.