Races for Black America to watch this Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday, the biggest day of voting this election cycle before the November general election, will determine the fate of several Black candidates hoping to come out victorious this primary season.

Aside from the presidential contest, which will likely see both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump pick up more delegates as they get closer to clinching their parties’ nominations, crucial races in 15 states from the U.S. Senate on the federal level to a potentially historic mayoral race on the local level will be determined or advance to the general election on Nov. 5.

Here are the races theGrio is closely watching. 

2024 presidential race

U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. (Photo: Getty Images)

Though the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, Biden and Trump, won’t garner enough delegates on Super Tuesday to claim victory in the nomination process, it will get them closer to the finish line. With 865 Republican delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, Trump – who currently has 273 delegates to date – could garner enough votes to clinch the Republican Party nomination from his opponent Nikki Haley (who has 43 delegates) as soon as March 12, when Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington hold their primary elections. Similarly, President Biden currently has 206 delegates compared to his two Democratic opponents, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and author Marianne Williamson, who both have zero delegates. 

California U.S. Senate race

(Left to right) Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Rep. Barbara Lee, vying to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, participate in a debate on Oct. 8, 2023, at Westing Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In a contest to replace the seat left vacant by the death of longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., three Democratic candidates and one Republican candidate are aiming to earn enough votes to advance to the general election. The top two candidates will face off on Nov. 5. Among them is U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a 13-term member of Congress aiming to become the state’s second Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Historically, only two Black women have been elected to the upper chamber of Congress, most recently being then-Senator Kamala Harris, who resigned after being elected vice president in 2020. 

Lee, 77, who was recently profiled for theGrio’s “Running Black” series, said she is “the most experienced in this race.” However, Lee will have an uphill battle against other well-known Democrats from the state: U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter. According to polling, Schiff has the advantage, in addition to Republican candidate Steve Garvey, a former Major League Baseball player. Unlike most states, primaries in California see Democrats and Republicans compete in the same primary in which the top two candidates go on to compete in the general election.

Texas U.S. Senate race

Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, conducts a news conference on Dec. 4, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol, introducing legislation that would help offset expenses incurred by new parents. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Though a Democrat has not won a Texas U.S. Senate seat in more than 30 years, several are running in the Democratic primary to compete in the general election in hopes of changing that history. The favored candidate in the Democratic primary is U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a former NFL player and voting rights attorney who has served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. If victorious, Allred would advance to the general election in hopes of becoming the first Black American elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Texas. 

Allred is leading in polls against a crowded field of Democratic contenders, including his closest competitor, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez. 

Allred, who was recently profiled for theGrio’s “Running Black” series, said it would be “incredibly important for Texas, and for the country, for us to have a Black senator.” The congressman already has his sights set on competing in the general election against incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. He sees the race as Cruz’s “accountability” for his “attack on our democracy.” Cruz was one of 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election win for Biden, fueling Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud. “We can’t afford six more years of Ted Cruz,” Allred told theGrio. “Texas is this incredibly diverse, dynamic state. We’re not the state that [he], I think, represents us as.”

Texas-32 House race 

Voters cast their ballots for Kentucky’s governor at Shelby Traditional Academy on Nov. 7, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

Rep. Colin Allred’s run for U.S. Senate leaves his open U.S. House seat up for grabs this primary election. Three Black candidates are seeking to replace Allred in the 32nd Congressional District: trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Williams, Justin A. Moore, a civil rights attorney, and former Dallas City Council member Kevin Felder. Williams, who has worked on health care legislation with former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and State Rep. Julie Johnson are favored to win the Democratic primary. 

While he may be an underdog in the primary race, Moore told theGrio he wants to enter Congress to fix a broken criminal justice system and reform policing. He is also aiming to ensure “the ban on affirmative action doesn’t have the type of negative consequences that the radical Republican agenda has actively tried to seek out in regards to our community.”

Given the district’s Democratic incumbency, whoever wins on Tuesday has an advantage of winning in November. 

North Carolina gubernatorial race

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson arrives for a rally where he announced his candidacy for governor, Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. (Photo by Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson is aiming to become the first Black governor in North Carolina. The state’s current and first Black lieutenant governor recently received the endorsement of Trump, who called Robinson “Martin Luther King on steroids.” Ironically, Robinson, who is favored to win the Republican nomination contest, once called King a “communist.” Robinson has emerged over the years a controversial political figure who has called former First Lady Michelle Obama a “man” in a Facebook post and embraced the racist, false birther conspiracy about former President Barack Obama. Robinson has also expressed antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ views, the Washington Post reported. 

On the Democratic side, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is favored to clinch the party’s nomination. Current Gov. Roy Cooper, who is term-limited, has endorsed Stein. The likely matchup between Stein and Robinson is expected to be the most expensive gubernatorial race in the 2024 election. Republicans, who currently control both chambers of the state legislature, are hoping to reclaim the governorship to achieve a party trifecta in the state. However, Stein is hoping that North Carolina’s history of splitting tickets between parties will see him come out victorious in a state that elected Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections but favored Democrat Cooper for governor. North Carolina voters also notably reelected Stein as attorney general in 2020.

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Super Tuesday, the largest day of voting before the general election in November, will be crucial for several Black candidates in various races. In addition to the presidential contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, key races in 15 states, from the U.S. Senate to local mayoral races, will be decided or advanced to the general election.

Some races to watch include the 2024 presidential race, where Biden and Trump will gain delegates to edge closer to securing their party nominations. In California, a Senate race to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein features Democratic candidates like U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee vying to become the state’s second Black woman senator.

In Texas, U.S. Rep. Colin Allred is leading in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat, hoping to become the first Black American senator from Texas. The Texas-32 House race will see three Black candidates vying to replace Allred in the U.S. House. In North Carolina, Republican Mark Robinson aims to become the state’s first Black governor, facing Democratic candidate Josh Stein in what is expected to be a highly contested race.

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