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Super down-ballot Tuesday: Jeff Sessions, George Papadopoulos and other key congressional primaries to watch

Americans in key states across the country Tuesday won't just be...

Posted: Mar 3, 2020 1:33 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2020 1:45 PM

Americans in key states across the country Tuesday won't just be voting for a Democratic presidential nominee -- they're also making choices in key US Senate and House primaries that will shape the fight for control of Congress this fall.

While not getting as much attention as the headliner race, primaries in California, Texas, North Carolina and Alabama could vault unknown names into key matchups -- or stop some well-known political figures in their tracks.

Here's a few key matchups to keep an eye on when polls close Tuesday evening:

Alabama - Republican primary for US Senate

Republicans want to reclaim the Senate seat in deeply red Alabama held by Democrat Doug Jones, but there's a crowded primary of GOP candidates, meaning the race is all but assured to head to a runoff at the end of the month. Among those Republican hopefuls: former attorney general Jeff Sessions, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, US Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who lost to Jones in a special election more than two years ago. CNN's Alex Rogers has a thorough rundown of that race and explains why all the candidates are trying to prove they're the candidate closest to President Donald Trump.

Most polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

North Carolina - Democratic primary for US Senate

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is up for reelection in this state that has proven to be competitive in the past, but the Democratic primary for picking his challenger has seen an unexpected influence. A group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has funneled nearly $3 million into ads in the race backing a liberal candidate. Why? Insurgent Democratic state Sen. Erica Smith is challenging former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, who won the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. CNN's Lauren Fox and Ellie Kaufman explain why GOP-aligned groups are boosting Smith in hopes of giving Tillis a weaker general election opponent in the fall.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Texas - Primaries for US House seats

If you were looking for an upset win Tuesday, the Lone Star State's US House race primaries might be a good place to start. Texas' large and diverse population puts its 36 congressional races at the forefront of America's changing demographics and political landscape. One example: incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in the chamber, is facing a challenge from Jessica Cisneros, Cuellar's former intern, who's backed by New York. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Another possible upset worth watching: 12-term Rep. Kay Granger, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, is facing a primary challenger backed by the anti-tax Club for Growth. Granger, one of just 13 GOP women in the House, has Trump's endorsement, but should she lose, House Republicans would be down to just 10 women running for reelection this fall.

Also in Texas, look for some familiar faces hoping to return to Washington, including Trump's former chief physician, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who is running for the GOP nomination in Texas' 13th congressional district.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET.

California - Primaries for US House seats

The nation's most populous state also goes to the polls Tuesday, and California's House races could feature some additional down-ballot drama.

One vacated seat -- formerly held by Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned last year -- is in a very competitive district, and 12 candidates are vying for the spot. Among the colorful candidates are George Papadopoulos, 'Young Turks' talk show host Cenk Uygur and the Republican who held the seat before he was ousted in 2018. CNN's Clare Foran breaks down the complicated mechanics of this special election within primary day.

Elsewhere in the state, former Rep. Darrell Issa, a well-known Republican and former committee chairman, is running in a contested primary for the seat vacated by GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who resigned from Congress earlier this year, in a district Democrats see as competitive.

Polls close at 11 p.m. ET.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct Jessica Cisneros' first name.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
Bolivar4772129
Oktibbeha455897
Panola4445103
Pearl River4428141
Warren4284118
Marshall4276100
Pontotoc416972
Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
Marion266079
Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
Covington254780
Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
Tishomingo222267
Jasper219748
Attala213473
Chickasaw205057
Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
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Hi: 63° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Cloudy
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Hi: 67° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 65°
Oxford
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Starkville
Cloudy
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Hi: 66° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Isolated showers will linger in our area for the overnight hours. While, most of our Thursday will be on the dry side. More showers are in the weather forecast by Friday evening and into our Saturday morning. Beyond that, unseasonably cool temperatures are the rule.
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