Congressional candidate Darren Bailey, right, speaks to a crowd at...

Congressional candidate Darren Bailey, right, speaks to a crowd at a restaurant during a campaign stop with state Rep. Adam Niemerg, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Casey, Ill. Bailey, a former state senator and 2022 Republican nominee for governor, is running in the March 19th primary to unseat fellow GOP Congressman Mike Bost, a five-term incumbent who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, in Illinois' 12th District, which encompasses the bottom one-third of Illinois. Credit: AP/John O'Connor

WASHINGTON — Three incumbent congressmen face tough challenges from within their own parties in Tuesday’s primaries in Illinois, while at the top of the ticket, presumptive presidential nominees Joe Biden and Donald Trump are expected to easily pad their delegate leads.

Neither the Democratic president nor the Republican former president faces a competitive race in Illinois on Tuesday after they both won enough delegates this week to clinch their parties’ nominations this summer.

Illinois will also hold primaries for congressional and state offices on Tuesday, including races for U.S. House, state Senate and state House, as well as numerous local offices. Among the most noteworthy races are the primary fights in three congressional districts where the incumbents have drawn strong challenges, even though the seats aren’t at risk of changing hands in November.

In the 4th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Chuy Garcia faces Alderman Raymond Lopez. In the 7th District, Rep. Danny Davis is part of a crowded field that includes Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, community organizer Kina Collins and two others. In the 12th District, Republican Rep. Mike Bost has a challenge from former state Sen. Darren Bailey.

Bost’s race has probably drawn the most national attention, as he received Trump’s endorsement in late February, while Bailey received an endorsement and campaign visit from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Bost and Gaetz were on opposites sides of last year’s prolonged fight to elect and then remove then-U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as House speaker. Bost yelled at Gaetz on the House floor over his sharp criticism to McCarthy.

Here’s a look at what to expect on Tuesday:


The Illinois presidential and state primaries will be held Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.


The Associated Press will provide coverage for the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries as well other contests across the state. The Democratic presidential primary features Biden, Frankie Lozada, Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson. The candidates on the Republican presidential primary ballot are Trump, Ryan Binkley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.

Tuesday’s ballot also includes primaries for U.S. House, state Senate, state House, state Supreme Court and water commissioner. In Cook County, voters will decide primaries for circuit court clerk, state’s attorney and county commissioner. DuPage County has primaries for coroner and county recorder, while Kane County will pick nominees for county auditor and recorder. Kendall County will also hold a primary for circuit court clerk.


Any registered voter may participate in any party’s primary. Illinois does not register voters by party.


There are 147 pledged Democratic delegates at stake in Illinois. Thirty-two at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide vote, as are 19 PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state’s 17 congressional districts have a combined 96 delegates at stake, which are allocated in proportion to the vote results in each district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district.

There are 64 delegates at stake in the Republican primary. Thirteen delegates are awarded to the winner of the statewide vote. The remaining 51 delegates are awarded by direct election in each of the state’s 17 congressional districts. Candidates for delegate appear on the ballot next to the name of the presidential candidate they are pledged to. Three delegates are elected from each district.


The presidential primaries uncompetitive, as Biden and Trump have unofficially clinched their nominations and face no major candidates on the ballot. The release of vote results tends to begin shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. ET. The first indications that the two are winning statewide on a level consistent with the overwhelming margins seen in most other contests held this year may be sufficient to determine the statewide winners.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.


Turnout in 2022 was about 10% of registered voters for Democratic primaries and between 8% and 9% for Republican primaries.

More than 587,000 votes were cast before Election Day in the 2022 gubernatorial primaries, about 35% of all ballots cast. As of Wednesday, more than 348,000 voters had cast ballots before Election Day for Tuesday’s primaries.


In the 2022 primaries, the AP first reported results at 8:05 p.m. ET, or 5 minutes after polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 3:12 a.m. ET with about 90% of total votes counted.


As of Tuesday, there will be 118 days until the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, 153 days until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 231 days until the November general election.

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