The Latest | Biden's campaign is betting the general election will be a referendum on Trump

  • Canadian Press

The Super Tuesday primaries are the largest voting day of the year in the United States aside from the November general election.

Voters in 16 states and one territory are choosing presidential nominees. Some states are also deciding who should run for governor, senator or district attorneys.

Party primaries, caucuses or presidential preference votes are being held in Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

Find AP’s full coverage of Super Tuesday 2024 at https://apnews.com/hub/election−2024.

Here’s the latest:

Biden’s campaign is betting the general election will be a referendum on Trump

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s campaign is hoping tonight’s results will clarify the choice for voters this November. It’s an all−but−certain rematch between the incumbent president and former President Donald Trump.

Biden’s team is making an all−in wager that it can make the general election into a referendum on Trump. They’re betting voters who rejected Trump in 2020 — and GOP candidates in 2022 and 2023 — will do so again this November, even if they have little enthusiasm for Biden.

It’s clear many voters dislike both Biden and Trump — but Biden’s team is hoping those who dislike their choices at the ballot box will break their way.

Voters misled about newly created Alabama congressional district ahead of casting ballots

WASHINGTON — Efforts to boost Black representation in Alabama were marred on Tuesday when more than 6,000 voters in the new 2nd Congressional District received postcards with incorrect voting information, officials said.

The postcards misidentified the voters’ district because of a “software glitch,” according to a county official. The official said anyone was still allowed to cast ballots for the right candidates when they went to their precincts.

Advocates expressed concern that the error could have discouraged turnout in the first election with new district maps.

North Carolina’s race for governor will have clear contrasts

WASHINGTON — Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and Republican Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson will compete to succeed the term−limited Gov. Roy Cooper after the two won their respective party’s primary Tuesday. Their general election campaigns will show clear contrasts.

Stein would be the state’s first Jewish governor. The Harvard University−educated lawyer has an established focus on consumer rights.

Robinson is a former factory worker. As a city council member, he gave a viral speech in 2018 that catapulted him into public recognition and earned him an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Already North Carolina’s first Black lieutenant governor, Robinson would also be the state’s first Black governor.

Where things stand for Biden

WASHINGTON – It’s no surprise that President Joe Biden is notching easy victories in Super Tuesday’s primaries.

So far, The Associated Press has called Iowa, North Carolina, Vermont and Virginia for Biden. There are 12 additional states in Super Tuesday.

The Democrat is his party’s only major candidate, despite concerns among voters about the 81−year−old’s age. Biden has already spent the weeks leading up to the primary contests focused on his likely November opponent, former President Donald Trump, the 77−year−old Republican frontrunner.

Today’s results will likely only intensify the rivalry between both men in what could be a long slog of a campaign. Biden has framed this race as a battle to protect democracy and constitutional values.

The question is whether Biden can energize his voters for November.

Trump supporters ready to celebrate in Florida

PALM BEACH, Florida – A crowd packed into former President Donald Trump’s victory party Tuesday evening at his Mar−a−Lago club in Palm Beach.

There’s a bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, including empanadas and baked brie cheese. Staff and supporters are among the crowd, which includes the rapper Forgiato Blow. Fox News is playing on screens set up around the ballroom. The crowd was erupting into cheers when an announcement that Trump won North Carolina’s Republican primary flashed on the screen.

The atmosphere is far more energetic than Trump’s launch event in the same ballroom in November 2022. Trump was being blamed at the time for a slew of Republican losses and was widely seen as having an uphill path to the nomination. Now he is on the verge of clinching it — in record time.

Crime is a major voter concern in Los Angeles

WASHINGTON — Public concern — and blame — over crime could will determine who serves as Los Angeles County district attorney.

Democrat George Gascón, a progressive prosecutor elected to the post after the murder of George Floyd, is fighting to hold onto his job after surviving two previous recall attempts.

He faces 11 challengers in Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary. The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the general election in November.

Gascón’s critics have highlighted a series of robberies at luxury stores to suggest that lawlessness has been sweeping through Los Angeles. Property crime rose from 2022 to 2023. Violent crime slipped, but it’s still above pre−pandemic levels.

California Senate primary goes to ‘top two,’ regardless of party

WASHINGTON – California has Super Tuesday’s most hotly anticipated — and confusing — primary contests.

Most states have separate voting for Democrats and Republicans, but California uses a “top two system.” That means the two candidates with the most votes advance to the November general election, regardless of party.

It’s a big factor hanging over California’s U.S. Senate race in the wake of the death of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in September: whether a Republican finishes in the top two on Tuesday, or if the general election will feature a faceoff between two Democrats.

The leading candidates are Republican Steve Garvey, a former baseball star, and Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. It’s possible the Democrats split votes and Garvey ends up leading the primary.

Haley has no events planned for Tuesday night

WASHINGTON — Nikki Haley has pegged her Republican presidential campaign to the biggest day of the primary season, crossing the country over the last several days to visit Super Tuesday states.

But the former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina governor is not holding any public events Tuesday night. And she has no future campaign rallies listed on her website.

Haley’s campaign says she’s spending election night in the Charleston, South Carolina, area and watching results come in with her staff.

Says the campaign: “The mood is jubilant.”

Voters in Texas and other states can watch on video as their ballots get counted

McALLEN, Texas — Voters craving more transparency after the last election cycle can watch their ballots via camera as they move behind closed doors in several counties nationwide.

“You’ll see staff going in and out, of course, authorized staff that able to be in there, along with the central counting station that will be there tabulating and calculating all the votes,” said Hilda Salinas, the election administrator in Texas’ Hidalgo County, which abuts the border with Mexico.

Texas’ video surveillance is part of a 2021 state law. There are also other counties nationwide that are streaming their ballot processing, including Cuyahoga County in Ohio, Maricopa County in Arizona, and King County in Washington.

President Joe Biden wins in Iowa

President Joe Biden notched his first Super Tuesday win in Iowa.

Iowa is legendary for kicking off the presidential campaign every four years with its famed caucuses. But Democrats changed the process in Iowa after a meltdown in releasing results in 2020.

The trouble prompted the national party to reshuffle the election calendar this year with a goal of emphasizing more diverse states. That left Iowa Democrats sending ballots in the mail, with results released on Tuesday.

Republicans moved forward with the traditional Iowa caucuses in January with Trump posting a dominant, nearly 30 percentage point win over his closest rivals.

Hundreds of miles above Earth, two astronauts cast their votes

HOUSTON — Aboard the International Space Station, two NASA astronauts performed their civic duty.

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara confirmed they had cast their celestial ballots in posts on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Being in space didn’t stop (O’Hara) and I from voting. Go vote today!” Moghbeli wrote.

According to NASA’s website, after an astronaut fills out an electronic absentee ballot aboard the space station, the encrypted document goes through a tracking and data relay satellite to a ground antenna at the White Sands Complex in New Mexico.

From there, the ballot is sent to the Mission Control Center in Houston and forwarded to the county clerk’s office.

Emergency robocalls correct voting misinformation in North Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — North Carolina officials activated emergency robocalls Tuesday to correct misinformation from a country music radio station serving a western part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

State Board of Elections spokesperson Patrick Gannon said WKYK, based in Burnsville, North Carolina, reported incorrectly that voting precincts had closed. It said that residents around Yancey County, population 18,000, would have to vote instead at the county board of elections office.

Gannon said the false information appeared “to be an honest, but unfortunate, mistake.”

Within 30 minutes of the radio report, the county’s emergency management office used a subscription−based public safety mass messaging system to issue accurate voting instructions.

WKYK did not immediately respond to a voice message from The Associated Press seeking more information.

Texas governor spends Super Tuesday dealing with wildfires

DALLAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spent Super Tuesday talking to officials in the Panhandle, where multiple wildfires continue to burn.

The Republican didn’t mention politics as he addressed the area’s concerns, including what he called an “extraordinary” demand for hay for cattle.

Speaking in the city of Canadian, Abbott urged residents to remain vigilant with the wildfires still burning.

In the lead up to Tuesday’s primary, Abbott had targeted nearly two dozen incumbents who helped defeat his plan to spend tax money on private schools.

A Biden supporter votes “no preference” over his Israel−Hamas war stance

BOSTON −− Marwa Osman, a 35−year−old content creator, says she voted “no preference” to protest President Joe Biden’s policy toward the Israel−Hamas war. Osman opposes sending any U.S. aid to Israel and wants the president to support a full ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

“We supported Biden from the beginning and kind of feel betrayed by him,” she said.

If the administration doesn’t change its policy toward the war, Osman says she is considering sitting out the November election.

“I’ll probably not vote or vote for an independent party,” she said. “I just cannot have my vote in good conscience go to something that is aiding to kill innocent civilians.”

CANDIDATE IS MISSING FROM HIS OWN BALLOT

HOUSTON — What to do if you’re a candidate and you don’t see your name when looking over your ballot?

“It was funny because I couldn’t even vote for my own self,” said Texas state Rep. Jarvis Johnson, a Democrat running for the state Senate.

Johnson’s son and daughter and a campaign member were also voting at the same location in Houston, and they couldn’t find his name, either.

An election judge had scanned the wrong precinct code, bringing up the incorrect ballot for Johnson and the others, Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth said.

The mistake was fixed, and staff has been sent to the voting location to ensure it doesn’t happen again, said Hudspeth, who earlier reported that Super Tuesday voting in the county was generally smooth, with problems in just a few places.

Elections there in recent years have drawn attention because of problems ranging from paper ballot shortages to malfunctioning machines to long lines.

A TRANSGENDER CENTER, AND NOW A VOTING CENTER

LOS ANGELES — Voters trickled into the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center on Tuesday as it served as a voting center for the first time, said Scottie Jeanette Madden, a director of the transgender advocacy group FLUX.

To mark the occasion, the center planned for a DJ and gave out water and snacks, essentially turning the act of voting into a party.

“Our community has emotional boundaries, not geographic boundaries,” Madden said. “You can now come to a place that is safe and affirming and vote, which might not be your local polling place.”

For many years, California residents were assigned to vote at polling places based on their home addresses. The state now lets people cast ballots at any voting center in their county, paving the way for voting at Connie Norman, named for a late AIDS and LGBTQ+ rights activist.

FOR IOWA DEMOCRATS, A BREAK FROM TRADITION

DES MOINES, Iowa — For Democrats in Iowa, this year’s Super Tuesday is a break from five decades of tradition in how the state gets its say in helping determine the presidential nominee.

For 2024, the state party had to reapproach its caucuses. They’re the one−night spectacle in which community members publicly signal their support for a candidate.

This year, Iowa Democrats have quietly filled in the bubble for President Joe Biden or one of his long−shot competitors and slipped the forms into the mailbox. More than 19,000 ballots were requested, according to the party, and roughly 13,000 had been received as of Tuesday morning.

National Democrats reshuffled the primary calendar to prioritize more diverse states than Iowa. The change pushed Iowa from its leadoff position and back to Super Tuesday.

ONLY MINOR WRINKLES IN THE HOUSTON AREA

HOUSTON — Elections in recent years in Texas’ most populous county have drawn attention because of problems ranging from paper ballot shortages to malfunctioning machines to long lines.

But Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, whose office is now in charge of elections, says that so far on Super Tuesday, things generally have gone smoothly in the area, with problems in just a few places.

Those problems have been dealt with, Hudspeth said, and she’s now taking her “first deep breath for the day knowing that voters are voting, our polls are working, and we’ve been able to address everything.”

The Associated Press

Photo: O’Hara