What is a Primary Election?

Here in Tennessee, the 2018 election cycle includes three elections: the May 1st primary election, the August 2nd general election with state primaries, and the November 6th general election. Confusing, right?

To begin to clarify, let’s start by explaining the May 1st primary election.

A primary is an election by a party to determine which candidate(s) from that party will move to a general election. In TN, we have an open primary system. You do not have to register by party to vote in the primary.

When you arrive at your polling station, you must choose to vote in either the Democrat OR Republican primary, NOT BOTH. The winning candidates from each party advance to face off in the general election. Independents will also be on the general election ballot. They do not have a primary.

In 2018, the primary for county elections is on May 1st. You will vote for up to two county commission candidates in your district and one for all other offices.

The general election is August 2nd for county offices. The ballot will also include non-partisan races such as school board, some cities’ local elections, and the primary for state elections. In the general election, you may vote Democrat and/or Republican.

The general election for state offices and any remaining city elections is November 6th.

I hope this helps explain the importance of the primary elections. In Sumner County, many of the races will be decided by the winner of the Republican primary because there are only a few Democrats and/or Independents on the ballot. (Len Assante for Sumner County Commission, Jordan Banks for Sumner County Commission, and myself are the Dems). This leaves them unopposed in the general election thus securing the win.

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