Ahead of any presidential election, there are events Democratic and Republican voters alike need to know. These include conventions, caucuses, debates, and other categories of events that occur leading up to a presidential election. If you don’t have time to track each of the 90+ presidential primary events for 2020, you can get by as long as you keep an eye out for key dates like Super Tuesday and the additional presidential primary events that play a huge role in the election of the next U.S. president in 2020.
View 2020 Primary Dates & Locations in a full screen map
The map above has all the 2020 presidential primary events you need to know, which we got from the New York Times’ 2020 Presidential Election Calendar. Sort the map by presidential primary event categories or the year and month of the event to narrow down the dates you need to know most.
We are tracking 91 presidential primary events for the 2020 election. That’s a lot to remember! Luckily, we can break down the events into five categories: conventions, debates, the election, and primaries and caucuses. Let’s learn what events from each category entail.
On the map above are two nominating conventions, which you may recognize from the presidential nominating convention locations since 1832. These conventions are where the two major political parties will officially select their candidate for President of the United States. The Democratic National Convention takes place July 13-16, 2020, in Milwaukie, Wisconsin, while the Republican National Convention starts August 24th, 2020 and runs through the 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Twelve primary debates are scheduled throughout the 2020 presidential election cycle, all of which are for the Dems to debate amongst themselves. Six of these Democratic primary debates take place in 2019 while six more are scheduled for 2020 as Democrats narrow down their presidential candidate.
Republicans are skipping their own primary debates this election as primary debates are for candidates of the same political party. Seeing as incumbent Presidents have a better chance at winning the presidential election than any new candidate of the same political party, Republicans are pretty much guaranteed to stick with Donald Trump and they don’t need to hear from any other GOP candidates to make that decision.
There are also three presidential debates for when each party nominates their #1 candidate at the nominating conventions, along with one vice presidential debate.
The election is a category with just one event: the 2020 presidential election. This cycle, the election will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd, which is quite early. Election day is always on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, with the earliest possible date being November 2nd and the latest possible date being November 8th.
While these two categories accomplish the same goal of selecting a primary candidate, primaries and caucuses use different methods to do so. A primary is similar to a general election in that it is a statewide voting process where voters cast ballots for the primary candidate of their choice. A caucus, on the other hand, is comprised of local gatherings where voters decide which primary candidate to support and select delegates for the nominating conventions.
The 2020 presidential primary season has seen the cancelation of several of the primaries and caucuses that usually take place: the Kansas Republican caucuses, Nevada Republican caucuses, the Arizona Republican primary, and the South Carolina Republican primary. All of the canceled events were meant to be for Republicans to select their candidate. However, just like the absence of GOP primary debates, Republicans in these states already know they’ll be supporting their incumbent. It turns out canceling primaries and caucuses is quite a common practice. Throughout the 2012 election when Barack Obama was the incumbent, several of these same states canceled their Democratic primaries and caucuses in support of the incumbent at the time.
Even with the 91 presidential primary events broken down into categories, the events are still not the easiest to track. Short from making our map your browser’s homepage, just keep an eye out for the one month or even just the one key day during which most of the presidential primary events take place.
There are 39 primary events scheduled for March 2020, which is nearly 48% of all primary events for this election. These March events include the primaries of key states like Michigan and Ohio which will provide insight into the preferences of suburbanites, African-Americans, and the white working-class. Then there is the Super Tuesday in March, which accounts for nearly 40% of delegate allocation. Political analysts expect the presidential primary race to be decided on Super Tuesday (March 3rd, 2020), when all of the following primary events all take place:
- American Samoa Democratic caucus
- Alaska Republican conventions
- Texas primaries
- Alabama primaries
- Arkansas primaries
- Colorado primaries
- Maine primaries
- Massachusetts primaries
- Minnesota primaries
- North Carolina primaries
- Oklahoma primaries
- Tennessee primaries
- Utah primaries
- Vermont primaries
- Virginia primaries
- Democrats Abroad primary
- California primaries
Most notable on Super Tuesday are the California and Texas primaries. As California has the most delegates in the U.S., it is one to keep an eye out for on Super Tuesday. Texas has the second-largest amount of delegates, so it too is one to watch on this monumental March day.
In addition to Super Tuesday, what other 2020 presidential primary events play a huge role in determining the presidential candidates? The Iowa caucus is where the first primary votes will be cast. These first votes can impact who the choices of voters later on, so pay attention to the results of the Iowa caucus on Monday, February 3rd. The next event to watch, the New Hampshire primary, takes place on Tuesday, February 11th.
Following the New Hampshire primary on the 11th is Nevada’s Democratic caucus on Saturday, February 22nd. This caucus is known for being well-attended and it is also the first state caucus with a large Latinx population. The results of Nevada is a good indication of how other voters are leaning. Then, on Saturday, February 29th, the spotlight is on South Carolina. Their Democratic primary is a good predictor of who black voters will select.
The last presidential primary event that will play a huge role is the New York primary, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28th. If any Democratic primary candidate is ahead at this point, the leaders of the Democratic party will likely call the primary race on this day.
There you have it, voters: all the 2020 presidential primary events you need to know laid out on a sortable map, along with the most important dates to watch. Which primary candidates do you think will win in 2020? And which of the primary candidates — if elected, of course — do you think could out-travel George W. Bush, who made 140 international trips abroad during his time in the Oval Office? You can read more about the international travels of U.S. presidents here.