Voters in Maine, Alabama, and Texas are heading to the polls on Tuesday to choose nominees in several key US Senate and House races.
The most competitive race of the bunch is shaping up to be the Alabama Republican Senate runoff, where it will be determined whether former Sen. Jeff Sessions (also President Donald Trump’s former attorney general) will even make the general election battle for his old seat.
Once seen as the favorite in the Republican Senate primary, Sessions now has a competitive challenger in former college football coach Tommy Tuberville. Sessions may be an original member of the Trump administration, but he fell out of favor with the president — who has instead given Tuberville his endorsement. The winner of today’s GOP primary will ultimately face Sen. Doug Jones (D), a moderate Democrat in a deep-red state who is in for a tough battle to keep his seat.
Much farther north, Maine’s Democratic Senate primary is happening Tuesday. Three candidates — Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, activist Betsy Sweet, and attorney Bre Kidman — are vying to see who will be the nominee to go up against longtime Sen. Susan Collins (R). Gideon is widely expected to prevail; the race has ostensibly been run like a general election between Collins and Gideon for months already. Voters in the state’s rural and northern Second Congressional District will also choose a Republican nominee to face off against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, a moderate first-term legislator.
And in Texas, there are more competitive Senate and House primaries. The Senate primary runoff between Air Force veteran candidate MJ Hegar and state Sen. Royce West has gotten competitive in recent months. Hegar may have a financial advantage and the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but West has received endorsements and help from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and has the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle. The winner will go on to face Republican Sen. John Cornyn, in a race that will be an uphill battle for Democrats to flip.
Vox is covering the results live, with our partners at Decision Desk HQ.
The race between former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn and Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville has pitted two fervent allies of Donald Trump against one another. Sessions is a one-time member of the administration, but it’s former Auburn football coach Tuberville who has gained Trump’s endorsement. The winner of the runoff will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who became the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in the state since 1992 when he defeated Roy Moore, who has been accused of child molestation, in a 2017 special election. In a state Trump won handily in 2016, Jones is believed to be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent this cycle.
Polls close at 7 pm ET; Alabama state officials are anticipating a high volume of absentee ballots in the runoff, with over 40,000 ballots requested. In-person polling places in the state are also open.
Alabama Republican Senate runoff
Collins is running unopposed in the Republican primary on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon is widely considered the frontrunner in the Democratic race. Gideon has two challengers running to her left — activist and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Betsy Sweet and attorney Bre Kidman, who is the first openly non-binary person to run for US Senate. Both Sweet and Kidman support progressive policies like Medicare-for-all and a Green New Deal. Gideon supports a public option and has expressed support for a clean infrastructure plan and investing in renewables.
In Maine’s Second Congressional District, Republicans Adrienne Bennett, Eric Brakey, and Dale Crafts are all competing for the chance to unseat Rep. Jared Golden (D). Crafts is a former state representative; Bennett previously served as former Gov. Paul LePage’s press secretary; Brakey is a former Maine state senator with a libertarian lean. All three candidates have embraced Trump. This House district is seen as fairly conservative and competitive, and Golden tacks close to the middle; he was the only member of the House to split his vote on the impeachment vote against President Trump, voting for the first article of impeachment but against the second.
Polls close at 8 pm ET; Maine state officials are also expecting a high volume of absentee ballots, with over 100,000 requested. In-person polls are also open. Maine also has a system of ranked-choice voting, which could kick into effect if no candidate reaches the 50 percent threshold needed to win.
Maine Senate Democratic primary
Maine’s Second Congressional District Republican primary
In Texas’s Democratic Senate runoff this Tuesday, Air Force veteran MJ Hegar and state Sen. Royce West will square off for the chance to face incumbent John Cornyn in November. With the endorsement of the DSCC and about $1.6 million in the bank, Hegar has the advantage — but it’s still a competitive race.
There are also Republican House runoffs in two districts: Texas’s 13th and 22nd Congressional Districts. In TX-22, sheriff Troy Nehls and GOP activist Kathaleen Wall are competing for the nomination in this open seat that Democrats see as a potential pick-up, with incumbent Rep. Pete Olson (R) retiring. The winner will face Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni in November. Kulkarni is a second-time nominee in this district who has a shot at winning.
And in TX-13, former White House doctor Ronny Jackson faces off against lobbyist Josh Winegarner on Tuesday. The competitive runoff for the district’s GOP nomination will likely decide who will next hold the district’s seat in the House. The district is home to Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee who is retiring after a quarter-century in Congress.
Polls close at 8 pm ET; Texas has expanded absentee ballot access for voters over 65, but courts have ruled the state does not have to relax requirements for all voters regardless of their age. In-person polling places in the state will also be open.