Super Tuesday isn’t just the biggest day on the presidential primary calendar. It’s also the first major down-ballot primary day of the year, setting up matchups for critical races for Senate, House and governor across the country. 

Voters in five states — California, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas — will head to the polls to decide the Democratic and Republican nominees in a slew of notable contests. 

Follow live updates on Super Tuesday 2024

In some cases, those primaries could continue after Tuesday — all but California have runoff provisions if a candidate does not win a certain percentage of the primary vote. And California has a primary system in which candidates from all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters advance to the November election.

Here are 10 key races beyond the presidential contest to watch Super Tuesday:

1. California’s primary for a rare open Senate seat

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s retirement announcement before her death last year sparked a competitive race to replace her, with three Democratic House members jumping into the race: Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee. 

Schiff has led the field in fundraising and ad spending. And he’s even used some of his campaign cash to boost Republican Steve Garvey, a former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, in an apparent attempt to prevent another Democrat from advancing to the November ballot. 

Polls show Schiff is well-positioned to advance to the November election. But it’s unclear whether he’ll face Garvey or Porter, who is using her formidable war chest to try to advance. Progressives, who count Porter and Lee as members of their congressional caucus, could risk locking themselves out if they split their votes between those two candidates. 

The deep-blue state is all but guaranteed to send a Democrat to the Senate. The question is whether California voters’ choice this fall will be between a Democrat and a Republican, or between two Democrats. 

2. Texas’ Democratic primary to take on Ted Cruz 

The Lone Star State is the Democrats’ white whale. Can they finally capture it in 2024?

Democrats believe the state is trending in their direction and they argue that Cruz is vulnerable, especially after he won re-election in 2018 by just 3 percentage points. But that was a banner election year for Democrats, and Cruz faced a historically well-funded candidate in Beto O’Rourke.

Democratic Rep. Colin Allred is viewed as a strong recruit, and he’s led the primary field in fundraising and public polling. But if he falls short of the majority-vote threshold Tuesday, he’d head to a May 28 runoff against the second-place candidate. 

That’s expected to be state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who has cast himself as the true progressive in the race and has built a national profile as a vocal gun control advocate following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which is in his district. 

3. North Carolina’s gubernatorial race

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is term-limited, so this open-seat race in a presidential battleground state is expected to be the premier gubernatorial contest this year. 

Both sides have heavy favorites in their respective primaries. Democratic state Attorney General Josh Stein, backed by most of the party power brokers in the state, is expected to win his primary. His top challenger is former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan. 

The GOP favorite is state Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and has stoked significant controversy during his tenure. Deep-pocketed former prosecutor Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell are also running for the Republican nomination.

4. Alabama’s incumbent vs. incumbent GOP primary

Two incumbent Republican congress members, Jerry Carl and Barry Moore, are vying for their party’s nomination after the state’s court-ordered redistricting placed them both in the 1st District. 

House Freedom Action, a group tied to the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, and School Freedom Fund, which is tied to the Club for Growth, have aired ads boosting Moore, who is a member of the caucus. But Moore has also faced opposition on the airwaves from a super PAC funded by some GOP megadonors. 

This safe-red district is all but out of reach for Democrats this fall, so whoever wins the Republican primary is expected to return to Congress.

5. Texas state House speaker’s challenge

This is the only state legislative race on the list for a reason — it embodies the huge divide in the Texas Republican Party and has some major parallels to the dynamics playing out at the national level

State House Speaker Dade Phelan is in a fight for his political life after he helped lead the impeachment effort against GOP state Attorney General Ken Paxton. The state House voted to impeach Paxton on corruption charges last year, but the state Senate acquitted him.

Paxton is now on a revenge tour, backing Republican primary challengers to the lawmakers who voted to impeach him. And Phelan is his top target. Paxton has campaigned with and appeared in ads for activist David Covey, who also has the backing of Trump in his bid against Phelan.

6. Republican who voted to impeach Trump on the defense in California 

California Rep. David Valadao is one of two House Republicans still in Congress who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Tuesday’s primary will determine if Valadao will face a challenge from the right or the left in November. 

If the two Democrats in the race split the vote enough, it could allow a Republican to advance past the state’s top-two primary system along with Valadao. Such a shutout would rob Democrats of a prime pickup opportunity in California’s competitive 22nd District. 

Republican Chris Mathys, a former Fresno City councilman, is running for the seat again after an unsuccessful bid in 2022. GOP outside groups, including the Congressional Leadership Fund, are working to keep Mathys off the November ballot by launching ads against him. 

On the Democratic side, former Assembly member Rudy Salas and state Sen. Melissa Hurtado are competing for one of the top two spots. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the House Majority PAC have launched ads boosting Salas, who lost to Valadao by 3 points in 2022.

7. North Carolina’s attorney general primary

Two U.S. House members from North Carolina are looking to return home, running for the open-seat race with the current attorney general, Stein, campaigning for the governorship. 

Rep. Dan Bishop, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, is the only GOP contender. On the Democratic side, Rep. Jeff Jackson is running for the statewide post after a GOP-led redraw of the state’s congressional map made his seat much more Republican. He’s competing with two other Democrats for the nomination: attorney Tim Dunn and Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry. 

8. Mark Harris attempts a comeback in North Carolina

Bishop’s decision to run for state attorney general opened up the deeply Republican 8th Congressional District in the southern part of North Carolina. A crowded field of Republicans is vying to replace him, including pastor Mark Harris, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2018 in an election that had to be redone after one of his operatives committed ballot fraud. 

If no candidate wins more than 30% of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff May 14. 

9. Crowded Texas GOP primary with Trump-backed candidate 

GOP Rep. Michael Burgess’ retirement opens up this ruby-red north Texas seat. The Republican primary features some notable candidates, including Brandon Gill, a 29 year-old businessman and activist whose father-in-law is far-right activist Dinesh D’Souza, and John Huffman, mayor of Southlake, a town at the center of a fight over critical race theory

The race has attracted outside groups’ attention with some GOP megadonors funding two super PACs targeting Gill, who is backed by Trump and Cruz. Gill has also had air cover from a group tied to the Club for Growth. This race could head to a runoff because of the crowded field. 

10. Porter’s open House seat in California sparks AIPAC intervention 

This Orange County seat, which Porter is vacating to run for Senate, is the only competitive House district in California without an incumbent

Republican Scott Baugh is running in the 47th District again after losing to Porter by less than 4 points in 2022. He has consolidated GOP support, while four Democrats are competing to replace Porter. The ones who have received the most attention are state Sen. Dave Min and attorney Joanna Weiss, who has received a boost from EMILY’s List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights. 

An outside group tied to the pro-Israel group AIPAC has jumped in to try and influence the Democratic contest by spending to sink Min. The group, United Democracy Project, did not respond to a request for comment about its spending in the race. 

But Min’s campaign manager Dan Driscoll told Politico last month that “a number of Republican donors at AIPAC are upset that he has called for Bibi Netanyahu to be held accountable for the security failures on October 7th and Netanyahu’s failure of leadership during this crisis.” Driscoll also noted that Min “does not believe in the annexation of West Bank settlements.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *