If all goes according to schedule, primary elections will be May 7. But most political people think they'll be postponed. The reason: Republican lawsuits challenging the new congressional and legislative redistricting maps drawn by the legislature's Democratic majorities. The first one got to court just last week. The maps are also under scrutiny by the Bush administration's Department of Justice, which must determine whether they protect African-American communities as required under the Voting Rights Act. Some think the primaries will be put off until June, some think September. If September, runoffs might not occur until October, squeezing the calendar for the eventual nominees to raise money and organize for a November election. Candidate filings are now scheduled to begin Feb. 18. The General Assembly postponed them from Jan. 1 after it took so long enacting the district maps. At that point, it handed further control of the calendar to the State Board of Elections.