House: Key Primary Results from Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, and Kentucky

May 22, 2024 · 1:04 PM EDT

By Nathan L. Gonzales & Jacob Rubashkin

Primary voters cast their ballots in four more states, clarifying a key general election race and nominating a likely new member of Congress in a key primary. 

Even with Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon now in the rearview mirror (except for a Georgia runoff), less than half of the states have completed their primaries this cycle. So it’s still going to be an eventful late spring and summer.

There’s still more than five months before Election Day and yet 23 candidates effectively have their tickets punched for Capitol Hill. They are likely to be new members of Congress next year because they’ve already won primaries in districts or states that are either solidly Republican or solidly Democratic and the general election is more of a formality. State Rep. Maxine Dexter of Oregon is the latest addition to that list after winning the primary in a liberal, Portland-area seat. 

Overall, 17 states have completed their primaries with 32 states hosting intraparty contests between now and Sept. 10. (Yes, that adds up to 49. Louisiana has its all-party primary on Nov. 5.)

Here’s what happened in some key contests on Tuesday.

20th District Special. (Eastern Central Valley from the Bakersfield to Fresno areas) Vacant; Kevin McCarthy, R, resigned. Trump 61%.
State Assemblyman Vince Fong won the special election to replace former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, defeating fellow Republican Mike Boudreaux, 60-40 percent. That brings Republicans current majority up to 218-213. (When all the seats are filled, it would be 221-214.)

3rd District (Southwestern Atlanta exurbs) Open; Drew Ferguson, R, not seeking re-election. Trump 62%. Runoff June 18.
Former Trump White House political director Brian Jack finished well ahead of the GOP primary field but fell short of the 50 percent threshold to avoid a June 18 runoff. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Jack received 47 percent, while state Sen. Mike Dugan had 25 percent. Jack had an endorsement from Trump and starts the runoff favored. Solid Republican.

2nd District (Boise and Eastern Idaho) Mike Simpson, R, re-elected 64%. Trump 60%.
The congressman posted another underwhelming primary victory, 55-36 percent, over Scott Cleveland. Last cycle, Simpson faced a higher-profile primary challenge from Club for Growth-backed Bryan Smith, but the result was the same (Simpson received 55 percent). Solid Republican.

3rd District (Eastern Portland area) Open; Earl Blumenauer, D, not seeking re-election. Biden 73%.
State Rep. Maxine Dexter emerged victorious out of a three-way primary that turned very messy in its closing weeks. With 64 percent of the estimated vote counted, Dexter leads former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, 51-29 percent. Dexter received $5.7 million in outside support from two groups: 314 Action, which supports candidates with a science background (Dexter is a physician) and Voters for Responsive Government, a new super PAC set up this month that won’t have to report its donors for several more weeks. Jayapal and a third candidate, Eddy Morales, accused both groups of acting as fronts for Republican and pro-Israel donors to meddle in the primary. Solid Democratic.

4th District (Southern Willamette Valley and southern coast) Val Hoyle, D, elected 51%. Biden 55%. Republicans have high hopes for retired Air Force Colonel Monique DeSpain but she’s leading perennial candidate Amy Ryan Courser by an underwhelming 59-41 percent in the GOP primary, with 79 percent of the estimated vote counted. Republicans believe allegations of misconduct by Hoyle during her time as state labor commissioner makes her uniquely vulnerable. It’s an inexpensive district to advertise in the fall, but this primary shows Republicans have a lot of work to do. Likely Democratic.

5th District (Southern Portland suburbs and central Oregon) Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R, elected 51%. Biden 53%. National Democrats are likely breathing easier tonight as state Rep. Janelle Bynum demolished 2022 nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the Democratic primary for this seat, 69-31 percent. McLeod-Skinner narrowly lost this district in 2022 and began this primary as the polling frontrunner but came under scrutiny after allegations that she’d abused a campaign staffer last cycle. Bynum had significant support from the DCCC, HMP and super PACs 314 Action and Mainstream Democrats, which spent a combined $5.7 million on her behalf. Bynum has beaten Chavez-DeRemer twice before in state legislative races, but a nationally prominent House race is a different ballgame. Toss-up.

6th District (Salem area, Dallas and southwestern Portland suburbs) Andrea Salinas, D, elected 50%. Biden 55%. It’s going to be a rematch between Salinas and Republican Mike Erickson, who hasn’t dipped into his pocket this cycle like he did in 2022, when he spent $2.7 million of his own money to run for this seat. So far, Erickson has raised just $138,000 and seems more interested in winning his defamation lawsuit against Salinas over an ad she aired in 2022 than he does in beating her for this House seat. Likely Democratic.