Super Tuesday primary elections and caucuses

The US Capitol Dome is seen on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2023, in Washington, DC.
The US Capitol Dome is seen on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2023, in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The first down-ballot primaries of the year on Super Tuesday are likely to be even more consequential than the day’s presidential contests, which are unlikely to change the trajectory of the Democratic and Republican races.

On the ballot Tuesday are primaries for US Senate and governor, but it’s the primaries for the US House – where Republicans are defending a razor-thin majority – that are by far the most important for the balance of power in Washington.

Central to the fight for control of the chamber is California. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to flip the House, and in California alone, the party is targeting seven GOP-held seatsPresident Joe Biden would have won five of them in 2020 had the current district lines been in place, making these so-called crossover districts potential low-hanging fruit for a party looking to flip seats.

Other states holding primaries for competitive House races Tuesday include North Carolina and Texas — and, to a lesser extent, Alabama, where redistricting has created a new district that’s much more favorable to Democrats. The four states, and Arkansas, also have primaries for seats seen as safe for either party, but the nominating contests could serve as key ideological tests.

Only Texas and California have Senate primaries Tuesday. Republicans need to pick up one or two seats in the fall – depending on who wins the White House – to win the majority. The Texas race for GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s seat has taken on increased importance for Senate Democrats in what is otherwise a tough landscape for them.

North Carolina is also hosting gubernatorial primaries Tuesday in the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The open-seat contest is expected to draw fierce attention in this presidential battleground state, which former President Donald Trump narrowly carried in 2020 and which Biden is hoping to flip.

Get up to speed on the key down-ballot primaries happening on Super Tuesday.

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