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Updated Mar 5, 2024, 6:24pm EST
politicsNorth America

Your hour-by-hour guide to Super Tuesday

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The News

Super Tuesday may mark the end of the presidential primary. It’s the beginning of another – the state primary season that won’t wrap up until September.

Eight hundred and sixty-five Republican delegates across 15 states are up for grabs today, from Vermont to Alaska. Donald Trump’s campaign has been predicting a sweep for weeks. Nikki Haley’s campaign has never said where it could win.

“I’ve always said, this needs to be competitive,” Haley non-answered on Sunday, when NBC News’s Kristen Welker asked what the candidate might do on Wednesday if she loses everything on Tuesday.


Lower down the ballot, tens of millions of dollars are being spent to oust moderate Republicans, meddle in Democratic primaries, and fill safe seats in more competitive races around the country.

The voting rules differ from state to state. For simplicity, we’ll refer to three kinds: Open primaries that any registered voter can participate in, semi-open primaries where registered party members and unaffiliated voters can participate, and closed primaries where voters have to register with a party to cast a ballot.

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The Schedule

7 p.m.



Nikki Haley’s delegate hunt begins here, an open primary state that’s one of the last redoubts of liberal Republicans. Gov. Phil Scott endorsed her in January, and while she lost the New Hampshire primary that month, she put up some of her best numbers in the Connecticut River Valley – right next to Vermont. Haley visited Burlington on Sunday, there are tens of thousands of non-Republican votes to try for, and Republican primary voters have been unpredictable here.

2016 result: Trump 33%, Kasich 30%, Rubio 19%, Cruz 10%
GOP Delegates: 17



Another open primary state. Haley held two sizable rallies here in the last week, both in Democratic strongholds where Republicans have been losing the suburbs — Richmond and Falls Church — amid another pro-Haley effort to convince Democrats to show up and support her to slow down Trump. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has stayed out of the race, but the counties outside Washington, some of the richest and best-educated in America, have the sort of communities where Haley has done best all year. As goes D.C., so does northern Virginia.

2016 result: Trump 35%, Rubio 32%, Cruz 17%, Kasich 10%
Delegates: 45

7:30 p.m.
North Carolina

Tonight’s first state where the Trump-Haley race is the sideshow — and where Democrats can’t vote in the semi-open primary. Republicans, who control the redistricting process in Raleigh, threw out last cycle’s competitive maps in favor of new congressional districts that Democrats can’t win. The Democrats who held the 6th, 13th, and 14th districts are leaving, and the Republican nomination in each seat is a ticket to Congress.

In the 6th district, outside Greensboro, failed 2022 candidate Bo Hines and ex-Rep. Mark Walker are running, but Trump’s endorsed lobbyist Addison McDowell. Fourteen Republicans are competing for the new 13th outside of Raleigh, three of them spending millions in personal or family money: former federal prosecutor Brad Knott, attorney Kelly Daughtry, and businessman Fred Von Canon. In the 14th district, outside of Charlotte, House Speaker Tim Moore, who’s long sought to draw a district he can win, is finally getting his chance.

Republicans have competitive primaries in the 1st, 8th, and 10th district, too, though only the 1st will be contested seriously in November. Sandy Smith, an accountant who attended the Jan 6th rally, lost the seat twice, and never conceded her 2022 defeat, wants a rematch with Democratic Rep. Don Davis under new, more favorable lines; retired Col. Laurie Buckhout is running, in part, on the premise that Smith will blow it again.

One of the Democrats leaving a re-drawn House seat is Rep. Jeff Jackson, who’s running for attorney general. Republicans hope to force him into a runoff, and a mysterious PAC called And Justice for All has been spending money to boost his more progressive opponents. Both parties have contested gubernatorial primaries, and clear frontrunners – Attorney Gen. Josh Stein is backed by outgoing Gov. Roy Cooper, while Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson got Donald Trump’s endorsement last week. “I think you are Martin Luther King times two,” Trump told Robinson in Greensboro.

2016 result: Trump 40%, Cruz 37%, Kasich 13%, Rubio 8%
Delegates: 74

8 p.m.

Another open primary, albeit in a state where Trump is phenomenally popular with Republicans. Most of the competition’s in the 1st and 2nd districts, redrawn after the state lost a Voting Rights Act lawsuit. Rep. Barry Moore and Rep. Jerry Carl were forced into a competition for the new 1st; that’s turned into a MAGA face-off between two men with nearly identical records. Eleven Democrats are running in the Montgomery-based 2nd, including the minority leader and minority whip of the state House. And Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Sarah Stewart, who voted with the majority on last month’s IVF decision, is running for chief justice against a primary challenger who’s urged her to recuse herself in future IVF cases.

2016 results: Trump 43%, Cruz 21%, Rubio 19%, Kasich 4%
Delegates: 50


A big change this year: Republicans are holding a semi-open primary here, and not a caucus. That’s a slight hindrance to Trump, who demolished Haley in pre-Super Tuesday conventions where MAGA activists have owned the floor. Haley got another boost last week – the support of Sen. Susan Collins, who’s still phenomenally popular with Republicans here.

2016 results: Cruz 46%, Trump 33%, Kasich 12%, Rubio 8%
Delegates: 20


Eight years ago, this semi-open primary gave Trump his biggest victory in New England. It’s even more promising for him now — the independents who vote in GOP primaries are less liberal than the unaffiliated voters who went for Haley in New Hampshire.

2016 results: Trump 49%, Rubio 18%, Kasich 18%, Cruz 10%
Delegates: 40


The night’s first closed primary is in one of Trump’s best states, where he lost the 2016 primary only to win every county in the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

2016 results: Cruz 35% Trump 28%, Rubio 26%, Kasich 4%
Delegates: 43


It’s another open primary on Trump turf, where most elected Republicans have endorsed him. (Gov. Bill Lee has stayed neutral due to his side gig, running the Republican Governors Association.)

2016 results: Trump 39%, Cruz 25%, Rubio 21%, Kasich 5%
Delegates: 58


Polls don’t close in far west Texas for another hour, but the statewide presidential primary is a sideshow here. In east Texas and the biggest suburbs, there is a multi-front battle for control of the GOP, with Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton trying to oust Republican state legislators who crossed them. And it’s an open primary, which gives less conservative voters a shot at saving their incumbents.

The marquee race is in the southeast, where House Speaker Dade Phelan — who led an unsuccessful impeachment drive against Paxton — is being challenged by David Covey withTrump’s support. Abbott and his allies have poured millions of dollars into 10 other races, supporting challengers to incumbents who opposed his school voucher bill — including Katrina Pierson, formerly a spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign.

Democrats have less money flowing into their primaries. Rep. Colin Allred could win the party’s U.S. Senate nomination, or be forced to a runoff; Rep. Lizzie Fletcher and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee both have challengers, Fletcher’s focused on her support for Israel and Jackson Lee’s on the need to let a younger generation take over. In Austin, Travis County District Jose Garza is battling a shadowy PAC that’s working to build on other reversals of criminal justice reform here, and oust him.

2016 results: Cruz 44%, Trump 27%, Rubio 18%,, Kasich 4%
Delegates: 161

8:30 p.m.

Trump is favored in this open primary; Haley skipped the state completely, rather than campaign where voters elected Trump’s former press secretary to the governor’s office by a landslide. Down the ballot, Rep. Steve Womack faces a primary challenge from a state senator who’s attacked him for not voting “no” on spending bills..

2016 results: Trump 33%, Cruz 31%, Rubio 25 %, Kasich 4%
Delegates: 40

9 p.m.

Colorado held a non-binding “beauty contest” caucus eight years ago, where Trump was competitive. It’s now got a semi-open primary, with the entire party infrastructure backing Trump in his effort to stay on the ballot. Still: Haley campaigned in the state, and Trump didn’t, and it’s got a larger college-educated electorate than most of the states voting today.

2016 results: N/A
Delegates: 37


Another caucus-turned-primary, which hurts Trump — but another closed primary, which helps him. Haley campaigned in Minneapolis last week, but registered Republicans outside the Twin Cities have overwhelmingly supported him and MAGA-aligned candidates.

2016 results: Rubio 36%, Cruz 29%, Trump 22%, Kasich 6%
Delegates: 39

10 p.m.

Utah’s Republicans have changed since 2016, when they rejected Trump in the primary and made him seriously compete for their state in November. There’s a robust population of anti-Trump Republicans here, and Haley campaigned for them last week, but the closed caucuses are much friendlier to MAGA voters now.

2016 results: Cruz 70%, Kasich 17%, Trump 14%
Delegates: 40

11 p.m.

Trump’s a lock to win the closed primary. Far more money has been spent in the race for U.S. Senate, which started as a battle of Democratic titans — Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee — and is ending as a study in top-two primary manipulation. The last batch of primary polls showed Steve Garvey, a Republican ex-baseball player who’s barely campaigned for the seat, contending for first or second place, thanks to a multi-million dollar Schiff ad campaign to help him consolidate the Republican vote.

The race to replace Porter has become an incredibly expensive test of AIPAC’s spending strategy even as the candidates don’t seem to disagree on Israel; its United Democracy PAC has put nearly $5 million behind Joanna Weiss, a challenger to state Sen. Dave Min in the Orange County seat. Schiff’s and Lee’s seats aren’t competitive, and the national party is more invested in the 22nd district, where Rep. David Valado is seeking re-election and Democrat Rudy Salas risks getting locked out of the top two. In the Bakersfield-based 20th district, six Republicans are running to replace Kevin McCarthy; the favorite is Vince Fong, a longtime McCarthy ally also endorsed by Trump.

2016 results: Trump 75%, Kasich 11%, Cruz 10%
Delegates: 169

12 a.m.
The GOP’s day ends with a closed caucus, ideal for Trump – even though Sen. Lisa Murkowski endorsed Haley days before the vote. In 2022, Murkowski lost most Republican voters to a Trump-backed challenger, in her first race since voting for Trump’s conviction after his second impeachment. She won re-election thanks to Democrats and independents, who don’t get a say today.

2016 Results: Cruz 37%, Trump 34%, Rubio 15%, Kasich 4%
Delegates: 29

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  • In Bolts, Daniel Nichanian breaks down every race that matters today, including “prosecutor races in two of the nation’s three largest counties” and “school boards that are deciding the rights of LGBTQ+ students.”
  • In Politico, Christopher Cadelago explains how Donald Trump might make Adam Schiff a senator: “With his dossier of Trump-bestowed insults like ‘Shifty,’ ‘watermelon head,’ and ‘little pencil-neck,’ Schiff raised nearly $32 million.”
  • In the Texas Tribune, Robert Downsen and Karen Brooks Harper trace the money that could “stack the Texas House with members who will pass school voucher legislation.”
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