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Jeff Sessions bid for Senate return tops Super Tuesday congressional primary ballots

Jeff Sessions bid for Senate return tops Super Tuesday congressional primary ballots

by Susan Ferrechio | Washington Examiner  |  Published on March 3, 2020

Super Tuesday is more than just a battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

House and Senate primary candidates are also on the ballot in many of the 14 Super Tuesday states, and several key races are worth watching, particularly in Texas, California, and Alabama.

Alabama, U.S. Senate
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is hoping to reclaim the Senate seat he held for two decades before his ill-fated turn as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Sessions is running against a slew of Republican competitors in the March 3 GOP primary, and his top challengers are former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne.

Trump has not endorsed Sessions, who he has criticized for recusing himself from the two-year Robert Mueller investigation into alleged Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign.

An Alabama Daily News/Mason-Dixon poll showed Sessions narrowly leading Tuberville 31% to 29%. Byrne trails the two with 17% of the vote. If no candidate wins 50% on Tuesday, the state will hold a March 31 runoff to determine a winner from the top three candidates.

Whoever wins the primary is in a position to reclaim the seat. Analysts say Democrat Doug Jones will have a hard time winning reelection in Alabama. President Trump is extremely popular in the state, and Jones won in an unusual special election in 2017 against a weak GOP candidate, Roy Moore.

North Carolina, U.S. Senate
Four Democrats are battling for a chance in November to defeat incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, whose seat is rated very competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Leading the fight for a spot on the ballot is state Sen. Cal Cunningham, an Army war veteran from Raleigh who is backed by the the Senate Democratic campaign arm. Cunningham is running against state Sen. Erica D. Smith, a more liberal candidate, who trails him in second place by double digits.

Two other Democratic candidates on the ballot, Trevor Fuller of and Atul Goel, poll in the low single digits.

Texas’s 28th Congressional District
Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, is fighting a more liberal primary challenger who once served as his intern.

Jessica Cisneros, an immigration lawyer backed by House star freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, is battling for a spot on the November ballot and hopes to defeat Cuellar, a more moderate incumbent.

While the seven-term Cuellar does not always vote with his liberal Democratic leadership in the House, he has the full support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who traveled to Laredo last week to visit a Cuellar campaign office and offer her full-throated endorsement.

Texas’s 12th Congressional District
Incumbent GOP Rep. Kay Granger is fending off a primary challenge from former Colleyville, Texas city council member Chris Putnam.

Granger, the top Republican on the powerful House Appropriations Committee who has served 12 terms, has the critical backing of President Trump. Putnam, who is attacking Granger from the right, has the support of the conservative Club for Growth, which has criticized Granger for not cutting spending.

Texas’s 22nd Congressional District
Pierce Bush, who is the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush, is running in the GOP primary to replace Rep. Pete Olson, who is retiring.

Olson has endorsed Bush, but there are 14 other candidates on the ballot, including Greg Hill, who won the backing of the Texas Municipal Police Association and Kathleen Wall, who is backed by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

California’s 25th Congressional District
The district will hold a primary election and special election on March 3 to fill the seat vacated by Katie Hill, a Democrat who resigned last year after the House Ethics Committee began investigating reports she was having an affair with a congressional office employee.

More than a dozen candidates are vying for a spot on the November ballot, about half of them Republicans. The two candidates with the most votes will appear on the November ballot.

Democratic candidate Christy Smith is endorsed by California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

California’s 50th Congressional District

Former House Republican Darrell Issa is hoping for a comeback by filling the vacancy left when Rep. Duncan Hunter resigned earlier this year.

Issa is among 10 Republicans, Democrats and Independents on the March 3 ballot. The top two candidates will compete for the seat on the November ballot.

The district includes San Diego and parts of Riverdale County.

Issa retired after nine terms from serving in the House representing a nearby congressional district where the electorate has become less conservative.

In his attempt to return to the House, Issa faces off against Brian Jones and Carl DeMaio, both Republicans, and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration Department of Labor official, among other candidates.

The GOP candidates are running as advocates of the Trump agenda, particularly on border security. Ammar is running as a pro-union, “independent voice” in Congress.

California’s 16th Congressional District

Moderate Democratic incumbent Jim Costa faces challenges in the state’s all-party primary from his left from three candidates, Esmerelda Soria, and Kim Williams, both Democrats, and Kevin Cookingham, a Republican.

The top two candidates will end up on the November ballot in this heavily Democratic district.

Costa enjoys the support of top congressional Democrats and California Gov. Gavin Newsom while Soria was endorsed by labor and conservation groups.

Williams, the most liberal of the Democratic candidates, backs Medicare for All, free college and the Green New Deal.

Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District

Seven GOP candidates are running to replace Republican Rep. Martha Roby in this deep red district.

Among the candidates is Jeff Coleman, a moving and storage company owner who the rights of gun owners and Trump’s efforts to secure the border. Coleman is leading in the polls. Other candidates include Jessica Taylor, a self-described conservative and small business owner, Barry Moore, a conservative, two-term state House legislator and former state Attorney General Troy King, who describes himself as pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.

A candidate must break the 50% voter threshold to avoid a March 31 runoff with the candidate who comes in second.

Alabama’s 1st Congressional District

Five candidates seek the GOP spot on the November ballot to fill the solidly Republican seat now held by Rep. Bradley Byrne, who is running in the Alabama’s Senate GOP primary.

The candidates are Chris Pringle, Wes Lambert, Jerry Carl, John Castorani and Bill Hightower.

The Tuscaloosa News identified Carl, a county commissioner, Pringle, a state lawmaker, and Hightower, a former state senator, as the three frontrunners “in a close race,” to succeed Byrne.

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