Red State ‘Super Tuesday’ Primaries Launch GOP Quest to Keep House

Voters across four Southern states spanning 63 congressional districts will see House primaries on their March 5 ballots, including 42 held by Republicans.
Red State ‘Super Tuesday’ Primaries Launch GOP Quest to Keep House
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), asking questions at a House hearing on Sept. 20, 2023, faces fellow Rep, Jerry Lee Carl (R-Ala.) in a March 5 primary battle between incumbents. (House Judiciary Committee/Screenshot via NTD)
John Haughey
2/17/2024
Updated:
2/18/2024
0:00

“Super Tuesday” ballots in five states feature inter-party preliminaries for November berths in 115 congressional districts, including 63 across four Southern states where Republicans hold 42—two-thirds—of those House seats.

While voters in 16 states—Republicans in 15—will cast ballots in March 5 presidential primaries and caucuses, Super Tuesday also kicks off the broader 2024 election cycle.

California, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas are staging general primaries coincidental with their Super Tuesday presidential polls.

On tap across these five states are a mix of party qualifiers for local, state, and congressional offices, U.S. Senate seats in California and Texas, and North Carolina governor.

The 115 congressional districts on primary dockets in the five states are the largest single-day batch of the House’s 435 seats to go before voters in the 2024 election cycle until Nov. 5.

The March 5 House primaries can be divided into two groups key to determining which party controls the chamber. The GOP now holds a 219–213 edge.

In deep blue California, Democrats are optimistic they can win back two seats Republicans flipped in 2022 and add to their 40–12 congressional delegation wedge.

Across the Southern states, meanwhile, Republicans in Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas are confident they’ll sustain dominant majorities, while in North Carolina, a redrawn congressional map gives the GOP a chance to flip up to four Democrat-held House seats.

Once the revised maps were upheld in court, a spate of Republicans, including 14 in one “new” district, cast their hats into the March 5 primaries to run in redder districts some say could turn North Carolina’s 7–7 congressional delegation into an 11–3 GOP bloc.

While there are relatively few competitive Democrat primaries across the four states—the preliminary for Alabama’s “new” district among exceptions—of the 42-GOP held seats, sitting Republicans must win primaries in 23 while 15 are unchallenged and four are not seeking reelection.

Five of six Alabama Republican incumbents face primary rivals while only one of Arkansas’s four sitting representatives, all GOP candidates seeking reelection, is in a party preliminary.

There are primaries in 15 of Texas’s 25 Republican-held congressional districts, five of seven in North Carolina. Both states feature primaries for two open GOP-held seats.

The most competitive—if not consequential—March 5 primary will unfold in Alabama where, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling led to a new congressional map likely to chip a seat from the GOP’s 6–1 House lock, two Republican incumbents will contend for the same seat.

Meanwhile, five House incumbents—four from Texas—have essentially already won 2024 reelections. Reps. Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas), Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Al Green (D-Texas), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and Dale Strong (R-Ala.) are unchallenged in primaries, without November contenders.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), speaking at the Capitol in July 2022, is one of three Alabama Republican incumbents who advance to uncontested November victories by winning their March 5 primaries. (Oliver Contreras/AFP via Getty Images)
House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), speaking at the Capitol in July 2022, is one of three Alabama Republican incumbents who advance to uncontested November victories by winning their March 5 primaries. (Oliver Contreras/AFP via Getty Images)

Alabama: Wiregrass Clash

Alabama’s only sitting House Democrat, Rep. Terry Sewell (D-Ala.), faces a primary opponent and will take on the winner of two Republicans jockeying for the November nod.

By winning their March 5 primaries, two Republicans—House Armed Forces Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Rep. Robert Alderholt (R-Ala.)—would join Mr. Strong in advancing to uncontested reelections in November.

The two most contested Alabama primaries are in Congressional District 1 (CD 1) and CD 2.

Alabama CD 1

In a battle of two incumbents in Mobile’s wiregrass suburbs, Reps. Jerry Lee Carl (R-Ala.) and Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) square off in this redrawn district.

Mr. Carl, a two-term incumbent, is endorsed by a state senator, state representatives, four county sheriffs, 10 county commissioners, and 22 mayors. According to his campaign’s Dec. 31 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filing, he had a $1.15 million to $700,000 advantage over Mr. Moore in cash on hand.

Mr. Moore, also a two-term incumbent, is endorsed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and the House Freedom Fund. According to a Montgomery Research January survey of 697 likely voters, he had a 41–37 poll lead over Mr. Carl.

The two debated four times between Jan. 15 and Feb. 17. The winner takes on Democrat Tom Holmes, a nonprofit executive and U.S. Navy veteran with no primary challenger.

The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and CNalysis rate CD 1 “Solid R.” Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Elections Daily classify it “Safe R.”

Alabama CD 2

The newly drawn map, which includes Montgomery and Mobile, moved Mr. Moore into CD 1 and opened the floodgates with 19 candidates, including 12 Democrats, running for the suddenly blue-friendly district.

Among leading Democrats are Shomari Figures, former deputy chief of staff and counsel to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, and state Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Jr., one of five Democrat state lawmakers in the primary.

In a Lester & Associates Jan. 19–24 survey of 400 likely voters, nearly half were undecided. Mr. Bracy garnered 16 percent, Ms. Figures 13 percent, and no one else more than 4 percent.

In CD 2’s GOP primary, state Sen. Greg Albritton, former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker, and real estate attorney Caroleene Dobson are frontrunners.

Ms. Dobson has the most endorsements and a significant fundraising advantage over her GOP primary rivals. Mr. Brewbaker has been endorsed by former Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.

The five elections services—The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, CNalysis, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Elections Daily—rate CD 2 a toss-up.

Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), in Washington in November 2022, is one of five North Carolina incumbents not seeking reelection.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), in Washington in November 2022, is one of five North Carolina incumbents not seeking reelection.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

North Carolina: 5 Open Seats

In North Carolina, the playing field is decidedly more red with the GOP-led Legislature’s partisan redistricting revamp upheld in 2023, enacted for 2024.

The new maps placed three incumbent Democrats in Republican-leaning districts, prompting Reps. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) and Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) to retire, and Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-N.C.) to run for state attorney general.

Two of the four remaining Democrat incumbents face primary challenges. Among the two who don’t is Rep. Don Davis (D-N.C.) who, nevertheless, joins Reps. Nickel and Jackson among the “most vulnerable” on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) 37 district target list.

Two sitting House Republicans, Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), are also not seeking reelection. Three of five remaining incumbents face primary challengers. If Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) wins his CD 3 primary, he faces no general election opposition.

How the refashioned map will shake out in revamped districts will be the Super Tuesday theme in the Tar Heel State. With so many party hopefuls in some races, several are certain to need May 14 runoffs. Among districts that will draw the most attention are:

North Carolina CD 1

First-time incumbent Don Davis (D-N.C.) faces no primary challengers but will be seeking reelection in a redrawn district the five elections services rate as a toss-up or leaning Republican, and is among the NRCC’s top flip targets.
Two Republicans are vying for the November nod to knock Mr. Davis off. Consulting firm owner and retired U.S. Army Col. Laurie Buckhout is squaring off against farmer Sandy Smith.

North Carolina CD 6

This open seat goes to the winner of the GOP primary between six party rivals, including former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.).

The seat is occupied by Ms. Manning, who is retiring rather than running in the newly “Safe/Solid R” district. No Democrat is entered in the race.

Vying for the GOP nod with Mr. Walker, who served three House terms before an unsuccessful 2022 U.S. Senate bid, is Club For Growth-endorsed attorney Bo Hines and Trump-endorsed health care lobbyist Addison McDowell.

A Ragnar Research Dec. 18–20 survey of 400 likely voters showed 58 percent undecided. Of the 42 percent who named a favored candidate, 23 percent chose Mr. Walker and 10 percent opted for Mr. Hines.

North Carolina CD 8

With Mr. Bishop’s retirement, six Republicans are seeking his open seat in one of the nation’s reddest congressional districts.

State Rep. John Bradford, soil and water board chair Allan Baucom, attorney Don Brown, realtor Leigh Brown, former Bishop staffer Chris Maples, and pastor Mark Harris are on the March 5 ballot.

The winner faces Democrat Justin Dues in November.

North Carolina CD 10

Five Republicans are on the ballot for the seat being vacated by the retiring Mr. McHenry in another GOP-dominated district.

Americans For Prosperity-endorsed Pat Harrigan, state Rep. Grey Mills, and solar energy consultant Charles Eller are frontrunners in the “Solid/Safe R” district’s GOP preliminary.

The GOP primary winner takes on Democrat Ralph Scott, Jr. and Libertarian Steven Feldman in November.

North Carolina CD 13

Teacher and landscape contractor Frank Pierce is unchallenged in the Democrat primary and will be the party’s nominee to retain a seat held by the retiring Mr. Nickel.

Republicans have no such dearth of hopefuls: 14 GOP rivals are running to take on Mr. Pierce in a district drastically different than it was in 2022.

Among them are House Freedom Fund-endorsed software business owner Fred Von Canon, ER physician and U.S. Air Force Reserves Col. Josh McConkey, and 2022 candidates DeVan Barbour and Kelly Daughtry.

The Cook Political Report and CNalysis rate the new CD 13 “Solid R.” Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Elections Daily say it is “Safe R.” Inside Elections is less bullish with a “Likely R.” All predict a flip.

North Carolina CD 14

With elections services all projecting a flip in this newly reddened district, first-term incumbent Mr. Jackson has opted to run for state attorney general.

Unlike the GOP free-for-all in CD 13, there are just three candidates in the party’s CD 14 primary with North Carolina House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) the overwhelming favorite on March 5 and Nov. 5.

Former Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), here campaigning in October 2022, is seeking a 2024 rematch with Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who narrowly edged her out of office in the midterms. (Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), here campaigning in October 2022, is seeking a 2024 rematch with Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who narrowly edged her out of office in the midterms. (Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images)

Texas: 6 to Watch

Republicans hold 25 of the state’s 38 seats. Four incumbents—two from each party—have no primary or general election opponents and have essentially already won their 2024 elections and 2025 seats.

Nine races are already set for November with candidates unchallenged in primaries. Three others, including two Republicans, can do so by notching primary wins.

Thirteen GOP incumbents are being primary challenged. Two—Reps. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) and Roger Williams (R-Texas)—each face two party rivals. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) has three primary opponents; Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) has four; and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) has five. Key congressional district primaries include:

Texas CD 12

Incumbent Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) is not seeking a 14th term in this “Safe/Solid R” district. Five Republicans seek the open seat.

Texas House Majority Leader Rep. Craig Goldman is the frontrunner in a field that includes construction company owner John O'Shea and project manager Clint Dorriss.

Mr. Goldman is endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott. His campaign began the year with $1 million more than any other candidate.

Mr. O’Shea is endorsed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, part of a pattern of dueling endorsements between the governor and AG.

The victor takes on the winner of the Democrat qualifier between businessman Sebastian Gehrig and social worker Trey Hunt.

Texas CD 15

Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-Texas) flipped CD 15 in 2022 and faces a GOP primary rematch with high school assistant principal Vangela Churchill.

The first-time incumbent enters the election year with $1.4 million cash in hand, according to her campaign’s Dec. 31 FEC filing—far more than Ms. Churchill’s.

Attorney John Rigney and flea market owner Michelle Vallejo will again vie in the Democrat primary. Ms. Vallejo has advantages in endorsements and fundraising.

Ms. de la Cruz is the only incumbent Texas Republican listed as vulnerable in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) 33 Districts In Play 2024 playbook.
The five elections ratings services give CD 15 a “Safe/Likely Republican” grade.

Texas CD 18

After losing a runoff in her Houston mayor bid, Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is, indeed, seeking a 15th term in the ‘Solid/Safe D’ district.
Houston City Councilor Amanda Edwards and chef Robert Slater Jr. were on the ballot when Ms. Lee announced her renewed interest in reelection. Both remain in the race.

Texas CD 26

Ten-term incumbent Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is retiring from this “Safe/Solid R” district and 11 Republicans are vying March 5 to succeed him.
Among leading GOP contenders are Trump-endorsed news website founder Brandon Gill, who is backed by the House Freedom Fund and Club For Growth; former Denton County Judge Scott Armey, son of former Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas); and Southlake Mayor John Huffman.

Texas CD 32

Incumbent Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the U.S. Senate race, leaving this “Sold/Safe D” district seat open.

Ten Democrats are on the March 5 primary ticket. State Rep. Julie Johnson, accountant Jan McDowell, and Brian Williams, a trauma surgeon, appear as top rivals.

Four Republicans are also seeking the nod. Businessman Darrell Day is the favorite over flooring distributor David Blewett, tech consultant Juan Feria, and home health care company owner Gus Khan.

Texas CD 34

Four-term incumbent Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) has no Democrat primary challengers but faces a stiff race in winning a second term in the district he flipped in 2022.

Former Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), who Mr. Gonzalez narrowly edged in the midterms, is the favorite to outpace realtor Laura Cisneros and two other party rivals in the GOP primary.

Ms. Flores has a fundraising advantage over all candidates, receiving a boost from the NRCC, which has Mr. Gonzalez’s seat on its 2024 “most flippable” list.

An 1892 Polling May 24–26 survey of 439 likely voters—the most recent available—showed Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Flores each polling at 42 percent.

The Cook Political Report and Elections Daily grade CD 34 as “Lean D.” Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and CNalysis rate it “Likely D.”

John Haughey reports on public land use, natural resources, and energy policy for The Epoch Times. He has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government and state legislatures. He is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and a Navy veteran. He has reported for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida. You can reach John via email at [email protected]
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