Super Tuesday 2024: The importance of down-ballot primaries explained - Hindustan Times
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Super Tuesday 2024: The importance of down-ballot primaries explained

Mar 05, 2024 06:43 PM IST

What are Down-ballot primaries? All you need to know about their significance in today's Super Tuesday battle

Super Tuesday's down-ballot primaries, featuring races for the US Senate, governorships, and crucially will be tracked more than the presidential race. It's these battles that are poised to wield substantial influence and potentially surpass the impact of the presidential contest in the Democratic and Republican races.

David Lewia leaves a voting booth after filling out his ballot in the primary election, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Stowe, Vt. Super Tuesday elections are being held in 16 states and one territory. Hundreds of delegates are at stake, the biggest haul for either party on a single day. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)(AP)
David Lewia leaves a voting booth after filling out his ballot in the primary election, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Stowe, Vt. Super Tuesday elections are being held in 16 states and one territory. Hundreds of delegates are at stake, the biggest haul for either party on a single day. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)(AP)

What are down-ballot primaries?

Down-ballot primaries refer to primary elections for positions further down the ballot, beyond the high-profile races for president, governor, or U.S. senator. In the context of Super Tuesday or any primary day, down-ballot primaries may include races for the U.S. House of Representatives, state governors, state senators, state representatives, mayors, and other local offices. While the term "down-ballot" implies a lower position on the ballot, it doesn't diminish the significance of these races, as they can have a profound impact on the balance of power within legislatures and local governments.

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Down-ballot primaries explained

The down-ballot primaries won't just play a pivot role in composition of the House, Senate, and gubernatorial positions but also serve as reflection for ideological shifts within each party. As voters in key states cast their ballots, the outcomes of these races are likely to reverberate far beyond the immediate primaries, impacting the broader political landscape heading into the fall elections.

The outcome of these races can impact the balance of power in the House and, subsequently, influence the legislative agenda and decision-making processes in Washington, D.C. Understanding and analyzing down-ballot primaries is crucial for a comprehensive assessment of the overall political landscape during primary elections.

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California Down-ballot primary

Of particular significance in these primaries is the battle for control of the House, with California emerging as a key battleground. Democrats are eyeing a net gain of four seats to secure a majority, and California provides a prime arena, as the party focuses on flipping seven GOP-held seats. Notably, these include crossover districts where President Joe Biden would have prevailed in 2020 under the current district lines, making them enticing prospects for Democrats seeking to shift the balance of power.

Super Tuesday: Why is California race important

Alabama Down-ballot primary

Beyond California, other states with competitive House races on Super Tuesday include North Carolina and Texas. The state of Alabama, influenced by redistricting, has introduced a new district more favorable to Democrats. While several states, including Arkansas, host primaries for seats considered safe for either party, these nominating contests serve a dual purpose as critical ideological tests.

Super Tuesday: The Significance of Alabama primary

In the Senate arena, only Texas and California feature primaries on Super Tuesday. The Republican party aims to pick up one or two seats in the fall to secure the majority. The significance of the Texas Senate race, notably for GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's seat, has heightened for Senate Democrats, providing a crucial focal point in an otherwise challenging electoral landscape.

Super Tuesday: Texas primary

Additionally, Super Tuesday sees gubernatorial primaries in North Carolina, adding to the political complexity. The race to succeed term-limited Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is anticipated to draw intense attention, particularly given the state's status as a presidential battleground. Having been narrowly carried by former President Donald Trump in 2020, North Carolina remains a focal point for Democrats, including President Joe Biden, who seeks to flip the state.

Super Tuesday: North Carolina battle

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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