When one event antecedes another, it comes first. In an election year, party primaries typically antecede the general election.
You can use the verb antecede to mean "come before" or "occur earlier." A more common word with the same meaning is precede. You could say that in your cookie recipe, creaming the butter and sugar together antecedes adding the flour. The word comes from the Latin antecedere, "to go before," from ante-, "before," and cedere, "to yield."