The association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from seven candidate genes, including genotype-by-baseline fitness and genotype-by-baseline body mass index (BMI) interactions, with incident hypertension over 20 years was investigated in 2663 participants (1301 blacks, 1362 whites) of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA). Baseline cardiorespiratory fitness was determined from duration of a modified Balke treadmill test. A total of 98 SNPs in blacks and 89 SNPs in whites from seven candidate genes were genotyped. Participants that became hypertensive (295 blacks and 146 whites) had significantly higher blood pressure and BMI (both races), and lower fitness (blacks only) at baseline than those who remained normotensive. Markers at the peroxisome proliferative activated receptor gamma coactivator 1alpha (PPARGC1A) and bradykinin beta2 receptor (BDKRB2) genes were nominally associated with greater risk of hypertension, although one marker each at the BDKRB2 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase-3 (NOS3) genes were nominally associated with lower risk. The association of baseline fitness with risk of hypertension was nominally modified by genotype at markers within the angiotensin converting enzyme, angiotensinogen, BDKRB2 and NOS3 genes in blacks and the BDKRB2, endothelin-1 and PPARGC1A genes in whites. BDKRB2 rs4900318 showed nominal interactions with baseline fitness on the risk of hypertension in both races. The association of baseline BMI with risk of hypertension was nominally modified by GNB3 rs2301339 genotype in whites. None of the above associations were statistically significant after correcting for multiple testing. We found that SNPs in these candidate genes did not modify the association between baseline fitness or BMI and risk of hypertension in CARDIA participants.