Three congressional races to watch on Super Tuesday: Jeff Sessions, Cal Cunningham and Pierce Bush

Candidates fight for power in Washington in first set of congressional primary races

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Tuesday 03 March 2020 16:09
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What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday will be a defining moment in the race for the White House, as leading Democratic candidates battle for votes in 14 states — but they won't be the only names featured on the ballots.

Congressional races across the country stand to significantly reshape Capitol Hill depending on their outcomes, with numerous House incumbents facing difficult intra-party challenges during Tuesday’s primaries.

Voters in the following states will flock to the polls to partake in the biggest day of the primary calendar for congressional and Senate races: California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine and Vermont.

Here are three key races to keep an eye out for on Super Tuesday:

Jeff Sessions fights to reclaim his Senate seat

The former US attorney general under Donald Trump has used his connections with the president to bolster his campaign for a Senate seat he held for nearly two decades.

But Mr Trump has not endorsed Mr Sessions in the Republican primaries, and the former attorney general’s opponents have used his recusal from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election as an example of his apparent disloyalty to the president.

Mr Sessions appeared to be leading in the polls against his two biggest competitors, Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach at Auburn University, and Bradley Byrne, an Alabama congressman.

If he secures the Republican nomination, Mr Sessions would then challenge Democratic incumbent Doug Jones — who won in a special election against Roy Moore, a controversial GOP candidate accused of sexual assault.

Will Pierce Bush keep his family’s political dynasty alive?

The grandson of former President George HW Bush (who is also a nephew to former President George W Bush) launched his candidacy for an open congressional seat in Texas’ 22nd district, among a crowded field of 15 candidates.

But the nonprofit leader is seen as a moderate in a race that features multiple vocal supporters of the president, Politico reported, potentially making his path to the nomination difficult on Tuesday.

If Mr Bush manages to win, analysts predicted he could fare well in a general election.

Pierce Bush is in a very tight race,” Mark P. Jones, political scientist at Rice University, told Los Angeles Times. “The Republican Party realizes it’s in some trouble. Trump is a liability across the state of Texas, but he is especially a liability in Texas 22 because he has pushed a lot of Asian Americans, Indian Americans, away from voting Republican.”

Cal Cunningham takes on the president and his allies in North Carolina

The former state senator appeared set for a victory against his Democratic opponent in the state primaries, despite facing strong opposition from the president — who endorsed the Republican incumbent in the race and held a rally in Charlotte the night before the election — and his allies.

Mr Cunningham warned voters not to “get fooled” by a pricey advertising campaign opposing his candidacy ahead of Super Tuesday. That ad buying spree was reportedly funded by a Super PAC associated with allies of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader.

The Democrat has meanwhile lambasted Thom Tillis, the current GOP senator for North Carolina, describing him as “one of the most unpopular senators in the country” in a tweet.

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