Your Guide to What’s on the Ballot on Super Tuesday

March 5 will decide primaries in California and Texas, the nation’s two largest states, plus Alabama, Arkansas, and North Carolina. We walk you through more than 50 downballot races to watch.
February 27, 2024

A polling station in Los Angeles’ Union Station. Angelenos are choosing a swath of offices from Senate to DA. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

2024 is starting off fast: Tuesday, March 5 is one of the busiest election days on the calendar this entire year. It’s just the first with non-presidential primaries on the ballot, but it’ll take care of roughly 25 percent of all House districts, in one fell swoop!

That’s because California and Texas, the two most populous states, are holding all their primaries, as are Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina. Across these five states, millions of voters will decide critical state and local offices, referendums and bond measures. Plus, Vermont municipalities are holding their town hall days. (And that’s not all: Ten other states hold their presidential primaries, but voters will have to head back to the polls later this year for down ballot offices.)

So buckle up for a crowded election day. 

To help you, Bolts has identified more than 50 items to watch on Super Tuesday, and why they matter, including key races for supreme courts, governors, DAs, mayors, and lawmakers, plus referendums.

On the menu? Hotly contested judicial openings; prosecutor races in two of the nation’s three largest counties, Los Angeles County and Harris County; and school boards that are deciding the rights of LGBTQ+ students.

Voters will also take the first step in choosing the successor of California Senator Diane Feinstein. They’ll decide on the comeback bid of Alex Villanueva, LA’s scandal-plagued former sheriff. They’ll settle the latest conflict between a reform DA and police unions in Austin. They’ll arbitrate the Texas governor and attorney general’s revenge tours against GOP officials who defied them. And in Vermont, noncitizen residents of Burlington will get to weigh in on local elections for the first time after a 2023 reform.

Be sure to return to this page on election night, and on subsequent days, to check the results. Note that this guide is not exhaustive; it is Bolts’ selection of important races to monitor.

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Jump to: Presidential primaries, U.S. Senate, U.S. House
In the Republican Party

Despite a loss in her home state, Nikki Haley is pressing on. But Donald Trump may pull away decisively in the delegate count given the scope of the day’s presidential contests: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.
In the Democratic Party

Marianne Williamson dropped out in February, but Dean Phillips continues his run against Joe Biden. The Democratic presidential contests cover the same states as the GOP (see above), minus Alaska and plus Iowa.

U.S. Senate

California (all-party primary)

This crowded all-party primary to replace Diane Feinstein will decide which two candidates move on to the November general. Will the GOP grab one of the two spots, or will it be shut out? And how will that affect the competition between Democrats Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff?
Runoff: Schiff vs. Garvey
Texas (Dem primary)

Who will take on conservative U.S. Senator Ted Cruz this fall? Democrats are choosing among a field of nine candidates, led by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas and state Senator Roland Gutierrez, who has staked a more progressive lane. 

U.S. House

Across the five states with congressional primaries on March 5, there are 115 districts holding primaries — that’s more than 25 percent of the U.S. House! Below are some key hotspots where the stakes are especially high for the primary itself. Be sure to also watch a string of California races to replace high-profile incumbents who are departing the House (including Barbara Lee, Kevin McCarthy, Adam Schiff, and Katie Porter), with the March 5 vote deciding the top two candidates for November runoffs. And explore state-by-state guides in Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas.
AL-01 (GOP primary)

Two GOP incumbents, Barry Moore and Jerry Carl, ran against each other due to the state’s new congressional map. Moore is a Freedom Caucus member who focused on his opposition to Ukraine aid.
AL-02 (Dem primary)

After the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s congressional map was violating the Voting Rights Act, the state drew this new district, which is likely to elect a Black representative. This Democratic primary is poised to decide its occupant.
Runoff: Figures vs. Daniels
CA-22 (all-party primary)

This GOP-held seat is one of the Democrats’ top targets this year; but the party is sweating being locked out of the general election if the GOP grabs the top two spots in the primary.
NC-08 (GOP primary)

Republican Mark Harris’ election to the House in 2018 was canceled because his campaign was embroiled in a fraud scandal. As he now tries again, he first faces a competitive GOP primary.
TX-12 (GOP primary)

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment has spilled into this congressional primary to replace retiring Republican Kay Granger. Paxton endorsed John O’Shea to defeat Craig Goldman, a GOP lawmaker who voted to impeach him.
TX-18 (Dem primary)

Democratic incumbent Sheila Jackson Lee is coming off a large loss in the 2023 mayoral race in Houston. She now faces Amanda Edwards, a younger challenger who is emphasizing generational differences and minimizing policy ones, Texas Monthly reports.
Jackson Lee
TX-23 (GOP primary)

Republican incumbent Tony Gonzales faces several far-right challengers who’re attacking him over some of his positions, like supporting some gun control, The Texas Tribune reports.
TX-32 (Dem primary)

As incumbent Colin Allred runs for Senate, Dallas-area Democrats are choosing his likely successor. State Representative Julie Johnson, who’d be the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Congress from the South, and surgeon Brian Williams appear to be the top contenders.


Jump to: Supreme Courts, Statewide Offices, Referendum, Legislative Seats
Alabama supreme court | Chief justice (GOP primary)

This is one of the nation’s most conservative courts, having just issued a ruling that threatens IVF. Both of the candidates running to replace the retiring chief justice (Associate Justice Sarah Stewart, in the majority for that ruling, and attorney Bryan Taylor) are each vowing to keep it that way. The winner is sure to face Democrat Greg Griffin in November.
Arkansas supreme court | Chief justice and Position 2 (nonpartisan primary)

Two elections for state supreme court feature an odd pattern: of the six candidates running for these two seats, four are already sitting justices on the court—they just want to move into other seats than their own. Bolts reports on what this means for the court’s future.
Runoff (chief justice)

Hudson (seat 2)
Texas supreme court | Seat 4 (GOP primary)

Justice John Devine, a staunch social conservative recorded calling his GOP colleagues “brainwashed,” faces a primary challenger who accuses him of violating ethics.
Texas court of criminal appeals | Seats 1, 7, and 8 (GOP primaries)

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and his allies are targeting three Republican judges (Sharon Keller, Barbara Hervey, and Michelle Slaughter) on one of the state’s two high courts. These judges were part of a ruling that restricted Paxton’s ability to prosecute voter fraud. This is a repeat of a failed 2022 strategy by the state’s far-right.
The 3 incumbents lost.

Statewide offices

North Carolina governor (Dem primary)

With Governor Roy Cooper term limited, his party hopes to retain the office to keep a foothold in state government. They first have to choose their nominee between Attorney General Josh Stein, former Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan, and three other candidates.
North Carolina governor (GOP primary)

The arch-conservative lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, has a lead in polling and the endorsement of Donald Trump on the GOP side. His opponents, Treasurer Dale Folwell and attorney Bill Graham, question whether he can win in November.
North Carolina attorney general (Dem primary)

Jeff Jackson, a U.S. Representative redistricted out of his seat by the GOP, and Satana Deberry, the reform-minded DA of Durham, are running to keep the attorney general’s office in Democratic hands. (Republican Dan Bishop, a member of Congress, is running unopposed in the GOP primary.)


California’s Proposition 1

Championed by Governor Gavin Newsom, the measure would shift the distribution of mental health funding. Newsom says it will help bring treatment to more people with severe issues, but opponents warn it’ll reduce prevention programs and increase involuntary treatments.

Legislative primaries

CA | Senate District 7 (all-party primary)

Nancy Skinner, one of the leading champions of criminal justice reform in the California Senate, is retiring, and the six candidates to replace her have differing views on progressive policies around safety and punishment, Berkeley Side reports.
NC | House District 105 (Dem)

State Representative Tricia Cotham’s decision to switch to the GOP last year gave Republicans veto-proof majorities in the legislature. Cotham is now seeking reelection as a Republican (she is unopposed in the GOP primary), and Democrats are choosing who’ll take her on in November.
Nicole Sidman
NC | Five seats (Dem primary)

Progressives target Democratic lawmakers who’ve sided with the GOP on issues like transgender rights, including overriding some of the Democratic governor’s vetoes, WUNC reports. Watch primaries in SD22, and HD23, 27, 60, and 106.
TX | State House: Paxton’s revenge tour (GOP primaries)

Sixty Republicans in the Texas House supported the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton last year. Paxton survived a removal trial in the Senate, and now is on a revenge tour: He has endorsed primary challengers against 34 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach him last year.

Among his targets are Speaker Dade Phelan (HD 21) and all five GOP lawmakers who represent Collin County, his home base. In HD 33, he has endorsed former Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson against Republican incumbent Justin Holland. And one of his defense attorneys is even running himself in HD 65.
20 of the 34 incumbents won.

Others lost, or are in runoffs.
TX | State House: Abbott’s revenge tour (GOP primary)

Governor Greg Abbott is on his own revenge tour: He is using millions of dollars to target some of the 21 GOP lawmakers who sank his proposal to expand school vouchers last year, in what was a striking defeat for state conservatives. Most of the Republicans under attack from Abbott over vouchers are also being targeted by Paxton because they voted for impeachment, such as Steve Allison in HD 121.


Jump to: Prosecutors, Judges, Sheriffs, County Leaders, City Leaders, School Boards, Measures
CA | Los Angeles County (all-party primary)

Reform-minded DA George Gascón faces a crowded field of challengers, who’re mostly criticizing from his right; the March 5 primary will likely decide which two candidates move to a runoff. Bolts recently reported on the policies of Gascón’s first term.
TX | Harris County (Dem primary)

After spending recent years battling bail reform and progressive local officials, and warring against members of her own party, DA Kim Ogg faces a tough primary battle against former prosecutor Sean Teare, Bolts reports.
TX | Travis County (Dem primary)

José Garza, Austin’s reform-minded DA targeted by state Republicans and local police unions, faces a critic in the Democratic primary, Bolts reports.

County judges

CA | Los Angeles judges

A slate of three public defenders are running for seats #39, #48, and #97 by emphasizing reform goals, in a repeat of 2022. Many candidates are running in each race; if none tops 50 percent, the Top 2 move on to November. Another public defender who is not part of this slate is running for seat #12.
CA | San Francisco judges

Two superior court judges face challengers who are backed by local police unions and other local forces that have fought criminal justice reforms, Bolts reports.
NC | Wake County judges

With 12 judicial primaries in North Carolina’s capital county Indy Week reports that some candidates are emphasizing their backgrounds as public defenders and their experiences with disparities in the legal system.


TX | Tarrant (Dem primary)

Democrats are choosing which of two candidates (Indya Murray, or Patrick Moses) faces Sheriff Bill Waybourn in November, in what’ll be one of the fall’s most important law enforcement races, Bolts reports.
TX | Bexar and Harris counties (Dem primary)

Harris County’s Ed Gonzalez and Bexar County’s Javier Salazar are among the many sheriffs who oversee large scandal-plagued jails in Texas. Each faces primaries.
Gonzalez, & Salazar
TX | El Paso County (Dem primary)

Most candidates for sheriff—but not all—are promising to resist a new law empowering local law enforcement to arrest people they suspect are undocumented.
TX | Uvalde County (GOP primary)

Sheriff Ruben Nolasco was accused of leadership failures after the 2022 massacre of children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas. This is his first time facing voters since.

County leaders

CA | Los Angeles County board, District 4

Alex Villanueva, the former scandal-plagued sheriff, is mounting a comeback against Supervisor Janice Hahn. The race is unfolding against the backdrop of a human rights crisis in the local jail, Bolts reports.
CA | Los Angeles County board, Districts 2 & 5

Los Angeles has two other supervisor races that’ll decide the overall balance of power. In District 2, Holly Mitchell is facing a challenge from her right; in District 5, the sole GOP supervisor, Kathryn Barger, faces two progressive Democratic candidates.

Municipal leaders

CA | Los Angeles city council, District 4

Nithya Raman, a progressive councilmember known for advocating for renters’ rights, faces a tough reelection race. She’s targeted by wealthy developers, including Rick Caruso, the billionaire and former mayoral candidate, and law enforcement groups.
CA | Los Angeles city council, District 10

Appointed councilmember Heather Hutt, running with the mayor’s support, faces four challengers, including Eddie Anderson whose election would strengthen the council’s left wing.
CA | Los Angeles city council, District 12

John Lee is the only member of the city council who is not a Democrat. Hit by an ethics scandal, he now faces a more progressive challenger Serena Oberstein.
CA | Los Angeles city council, District 14

Councilmember Kevin de León refused to resign after being recorded in a conversation with racist remarks alongside other Los Angeles officials, a scandal that sparked national outrage. Now he’s seeking reelection, with seven challengers seeking to oust him.
CA | Sacramento mayor 

With the sitting mayor retiring this year, there’s a six-way race to replace him, and Cap Radio reviews differences between the contenders. The election is likely to move to November if no one receives 50 percent in March.
CA | San Diego mayor

Mayor Todd Gloria faces a challenger on his left, former public defender Geneviéve Jones-Wright, and another on his right, police officer Larry Turner, Inewsource reports. The primary will likely decide which of the two moves on to a runoff with Gloria.
VT | Burlington mayor

Burlington will elect a new mayor with several major innovations to its voting system: This is the first mayoral race in which voters will use ranked-choice voting, and the first in which noncitizen residents with legal status can vote.

School boards

CA | Glendale, Seats A and E

Glendale saw major protests last summer against the local school board’s inclusive policies for LGBTQ+ students. Now two right-wing activists who’ve accused the board of “indoctrination,” Jordan Henry and Aneta Krpekyan, are running for two seats.
CA | Orange Unified School District, two recalls (Area 4 and 7)

Conservative members Rick Ledesma and Madison Miner each face recall efforts for supporting policies such as banning a pride flag and other restrictions that affect LGBTQ+ students.
CA | Yolo County

A conservative school board member with anti-trans rhetoric faces a recall in Yolo County. 

Local referendums

CA | Los Angeles, Measure HLA

The city of Los Angeles last decade adopted a plan to adapt its streets for transit and bikers. This ballot measure would hold city officials accountable for actually implementing it.
CA | Long Beach, Measure RW

Residents are deciding whether to raise the minimum wage for hotel workers to $23/hour this year, with additional raises through 2028.
CA | San Francisco, Proposition A

The measure would authorize a $300 million bond to finance housing construction, including affordable housing.
CA | San Francisco, Proposition B

This measure would increase the size of the police force, but only if the city creates new taxes to pay for it, a condition that troubles police advocates who oppose it.
CA | San Francisco, Proposition C

Voters will decide whether to set up a tax on business to fund homelessness services.
CA | San Francisco, Proposition E

Mayor London Breed is championing this wide-ranging measure that would expand the powers of the local police and its surveillance powers, and ease car chases.
CA | San Francisco, Proposition F

This measure would require San Franciscans under 65 to get tested for drug use before obtaining cash benefits.