Several candidates in Tuesday’s primary races are hoping these elections will be their first steps toward making history, or at least changing the political climate in their states.
Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho are all holding primaries Tuesday in what many are concluding will be a referendum on the Trump administration, Congress and the current political direction of the United States.
Be it diversifying their parties or reversing long-running trends, a handful of candidates appear focused on disrupting the status quo. Here are four you should know about:
Pearl Kim, Republican candidate in Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District, is the only GOP woman seeking office Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
She's vying for a seat that was previously occupied by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), who resigned after a sexual harassment scandal.
Kim is running unopposed, so her candidacy will continue after tonight, but the seat she's seeking is in a district that was recently redrawn and now leans Democratic. Still, Kim will stand out in a party not known for having many women of color.
“My parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea with next to nothing,” she said in a March release. “This country afforded me and my parents the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
Paulette Jordan, a Democratic candidate for Idaho governor, is a two-term state legislator and is hoping to be the first Native American governor in U.S. history.
She is a member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, in which her grandparents held key leadership positions, and has deep roots in Idaho, which is one of America’s whitest states, according to the U.S. Census.
“People are ready for something new,” she told The Washington Post. “I’m not about the party; I’m not about the system.”
Jordan is competing against A.J. Balukoff, the 2014 Democratic nominee, for her party's support.
Most Idaho voters are Republican, and the competitive Republican primary for governor features three leading candidates who would be formidable in a general election: Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a founding member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus; Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who has the support of outgoing Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter; and Tommy Ahlquist, a businessman and physician who has the support of 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Rep. Brad Ashford, Democratic candidate in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, wants to reclaim the congressional seat he won in 2014 and lost two years later. But some are wondering whether the more establishment Democrat — he used to be a Republican — can capture the primary in a political climate where many liberal voters are demanding more progressive candidates.
His chief competition is coming from his left; nonprofit executive Kara Eastman is a proponent of single-payer health care.
Ashford has the support of the Democratic establishment and has made it clear that he does not support many of Trump's policies.
This district, which Trump won by two points, is viewed as a toss-up. The seat is held by Rep. Don Bacon (R), who is unopposed in his primary.
Knute Buehler, Republican candidate for Oregon governor, a state representative and an orthopedic surgeon, is the front-runner in his primary, though not by as much as expected, according to the Statesman Journal in Salem. The state's GOP is hoping Buehler or one of his competitors can help deliver the governor’s mansion after more than three decades of Democratic control. Republicans believe budget problems in the state are making a fiscally conservative message more palatable to voters.
But Trump is highly unpopular in the notoriously liberal state, and the Democratic Party is probably going to tie all Republicans to the commander in chief. Regardless of what happens today, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown remains the favorite to win in November.