Nominees will emerge from party primaries with the backing of a majority of party voters. Here are several examples of candidates winning primary elections with less than 40% of the vote:
- In 2012, 6 Republicans and 4 Democrats ran for the open seat for U.S. Senate. The Democratic nominee won her primary with 38% of the vote, while the Republican nominee won his primary with 28% of the vote.
- In 2010, 5 Democrats and 7 Republicans ran for governor. The Democratic candidate was nominated with 34% of the vote, while the Republican candidate was nominated with 37% of the vote.
- In 2002, 6 Democrats and 4 Republicans ran for the open seat in Maine's second congressional district. The Republican and Democratic nominees each won their primaries with only 31% of the vote.