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Key races for governor and Congress take shape as Super Tuesday results roll in

The first major down-ballot primary day of the 2024 election cycle is setting up a series of consequential races for Senate, House and governor across the country.

In California, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey will advance to the general election, NBC News projects, denying progressives a spot on the November ballot. Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee failed to advance through the state’s primary system, where the top two candidates move on regardless of party.

Schiff will now avoid a contentious intraparty battle this fall and be the heavy favorite to keep the seat in Democratic hands.

In another key Senate race, NBC News projects that Democratic Rep. Colin Allred won his party’s nomination to take on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, setting up a race that will draw national attention this fall.

Allred, who has posted strong fundraising totals, managed to hit the majority-vote threshold necessary to avoid a runoff.

Republicans need a net gain of just two seats to take control of the Senate, or one seat if the party wins the White House since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the upper chamber. Democrats face a very difficult map with few offensive opportunities, one of which is in Texas.

In the battleground state of North Carolina, NBC News projects Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein won their parties’ primaries for governor.

Robinson is a conservative culture warrior who’s made litany of controversial comments and has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Stein had the backing of the state’s Democratic elites in his primary.

The general election to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is likely to echo many of the same themes that will define the presidential contest. North Carolina is one of just two presidential swing states, along with New Hampshire, holding a gubernatorial election this year.

Republican candidate for North Carolina Gov. Mark Robinson at a rally on Jan. 26, 2024, in Roxboro, N.C.Chris Seward / AP file

Voters in five states — California, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas — have cast ballots to decide which candidates in a slew of down-ballot races will advance to November. That includes several notable House races.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a long-serving representative in the Houston area, will win her primary, NBC News projects, fending off a challenge from former Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards. Jackson Lee had originally sought to leave her current seat to run for mayor of Houston, but fell short before deciding to run for re-election to the House last year. Jackson’s Lee 18th District is heavily Democratic.

Meanwhile, Republican Brandon Gill easily won the crowded GOP primary in the open 26th District in Texas, NBC News projects. Gill, the son-in-law of far-right activist Dinesh D’Souza, had Trump’s endorsement in the race.

Two super PACs funded by GOP megadonors spent more than $2 million against Gill. But the 29-year-old is now expected to easily with the heavily Republican district in the fall.

In North Carolina, candidates must clear a 30% threshold in the primary to avoid a runoff. Former Rep. Mark Walker is headed for a runoff in his comeback bid in the state’s 6th District against fellow Republican Addison McDowell, who is backed by Trump.

There will also be a runoff in Alabama’s 2nd District, a new heavily Black seat created as the result of a 2023 federal court order. Black residents make up about a quarter of the population in the state, but there’s long been just one district with a majority Black population. The new district’s voting-age population is just shy of a majority Black.

Shomari Figures, a former deputy chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Anthony Daniels, the state House Minority Leader, will meet in the runoff.

Further down the ballot in Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton is on a revenge tour, backing primary challengers to GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach him last year.

In Texas, candidates must cross a majority-vote threshold to avoid a runoff primary between the top two finishers.

Ted Cruz at a news conference
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attends a news conference in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 24, 2024.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

In Alabama, Republican Reps. Jerry Carl and Barry Moore were forced into a rare incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary in the 1st District after new lines were congressional lines were drawn. The new maps also created a second majority-Black district in the state.

California is also home to nine competitive U.S. House races that will play a major role in the overall battle for control of the chamber.

Given how many California voters cast ballots via mail, results in some races may not be finalized for days.

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