Amy McGrath, right, with her husband, Erik Henderson, pumps her fists after being elected as the Democratic candidate for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, May 22, 2018, in Richmond, Ky.
In Kentucky, former U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath’s victory over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the state’s 6th Congressional District saw higher Democratic primary turnout than both 2016 and 2014, with total ballots cast just topping 100,000.
In Nebraska, a surprise victory by social worker Kara Eastman over former Rep. Brad Ashford in the state’s 2nd Congressional District saw nearly 20,000 more votes cast than in 2014.
The swing state of Pennsylvania, which saw its congressional map uprooted this year by the state’s Supreme Court, also saw Democrat turnout surge in two newly drawn districts expected to be competitive in November.
Democratic turnout outpaced Republican by nearly 14,000 votes in the state’s 7th Congressional District – based in the Lehigh Valley – which is an open seat race due to the resignation of GOP Rep. Charlie Dent.
In Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic ballots narrowly outnumbered Republican ones. The Bucks County-based seat is home to the Philadelphia area’s only Republican congressman – Brian Fitzpatrick – who will face Democratic nominee Scott Wallace, a wealthy entrepreneur who ran as the progressive in the primary against a former Republican and Navy veteran.
Why is turnout surging?Democrats have credited the man in the White House with not only fostering higher levels of political engagement but also inspiring new candidates to run for office.
“One day, hopefully very soon, we will remember this president as the best thing that ever happened to our party,” Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee said last week at the party’s annual women’s leadership forum.
“Because of him, we are united women in unprecedented ways across the country and from different communities. Because of him, over 400 women are running for Congress just this year,” Meng went on.
Some of the more progressive groups, especially those aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, have argued that competitive Democratic primaries have helped bring out more people, as various party candidates work to expand the pool and campaign for votes.
The David Turner, the Deputy Communications Director for the Democratic Governors, acknowledged during an interview with ABC News this week that after the 2016 presidential campaign, he was leery of tough primaries and “exhausted.” But, he said, that while working on the Virginia gubernatorial race last fall, he was reminded that, in his opinion, primary races can help make campaigns dial tested, if they don’t get too negative. More spending on TV earlier in the cycle, can deliver candidates’ message to a general election audience and foster “more communication more general awareness,” he said.
ABC News' MaryAlice Parks contributed to this story.