Six Elections to Watch in February

Presidential primaries are picking up, and control of a swing-state legislature is on the line.

Nikki Haley will continue her duel with Donald Trump in February. (Photo from Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The 2024 cycle got off to a rapid start in January. Donald Trump’s unusual double win in Iowa and New Hampshire confirmed that he’s heavily favored to win the GOP presidential nomination. And voters already flipped two legislative seats—one to Democrats in Florida, another to the GOP in New Hampshire.

February is kicking the stakes up a notch. Nikki Haley’s presidential ambitions may not survive the month unless she manages to right the ship in her home state. A congressional race may bring the U.S. House even closer to parity, or else give the GOP majority some breathing room. A special election will decide control of Pennsylvania’s state House. And that’s all just the runup to Super Tuesday in early March.

Bolts guides you through six elections to watch this month.

Be sure to return to this page after each election as we add the results.

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Feb. 6 and 8: Nevada’s two elections

Jon Ralston, famed Nevada political journalist, frequently uses the hashtag #wematter when discussing his state’s early slot on the presidential calendar. But state Republicans this year set up a confusing split screen that’s set to just hand Trump all of Nevada’s 26 delegates with no competition. 

When Nevada holds its regular primary on Tuesday, Feb. 6, Haley will be the only major candidate on the ballot. (Voters can choose “none of these candidates,” a test of Trump’s strength in absentia.) Two days later, on Thursday, Republicans are organizing caucuses that will feature Trump’s name but not Haley’s. Delegates are awarded only through this second consultation. 

Democrats are also voting in the Feb. 6 primary, the party’s second delegate-granting election after the South Carolina primary last week.
Result: Biden and Trump each won all their respective parties’ delegates. Haley lost the primary to “none of these candidates.”

Feb. 13: Who will run the Pennsylvania House?

In a surprise surge in 2022, Democrats flipped Pennsylvania’s House with no seats to spare—102 to 101. But a Democratic resignation in December created a tie that will be resolved in this special election.

On paper, Democrat Jim Prokopiak is favored; the district voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and it’s located in Bucks County, a suburban area where Democrats performed strongly last fall. Still, turnout patterns in an off-schedule special election are unpredictable and national Democrats have poured in money. An upset by Republican Candace Cabanas would hand the GOP control of the full legislature. 

Outside Pennsylvania, Feb. 13 will see four other legislative special elections—one in the Oklahoma City region, one in the Bronx, and two in Georgia. None is expected to be competitive but keep an eye on the margins as they can be a valuable indicator of parties’ strength.
Result: Jim Prokopiak won the race by a wide margin of more than 30 percentage points, securing a House majority for Democrats.

Feb. 13: New Yorkers replace George Santos

The bizarre saga of George Santos culminated in the Republican’s expulsion from the U.S. House in December, sparking a special election in the Third District, which covers Long Island and some of Queens. Democrats hope to flip the seat with Tom Suozzi, a centrist former county executive and former U.S. representative. The GOP is banking that a campaign focused on crime and the border can propel Mazi Pilip, a lesser-known county legislator, to Congress. 

The GOP controls the U.S. House with a tight majority of 219-212, and a Democratic gain would shrink its margin of error even further. Adding to the intrigue: New York will have new congressional maps by November, and it’s still unclear how those will affect this district.
Result: Tom Suozzi won this race, flipping George Santos’ congressional seat to Democrats.

Feb. 13: A Bevy of local Measures in Washington

Residents of Renton, a city of more than 100,000 people just south of Seattle, will decide whether to increase their minimum wage to $20.29 an hour, or $18.29 for smaller employers, as a result of a local group’s ballot campaign. This would make Renton’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest, but also align it with other neighboring municipalities in the Seattle region. 

This is one of hundreds of local referendums happening across Washington. Many are about raising levies for school operations and programs; levies are on the ballot in 215 school districts, according to the state’s elections office, from the Seattle region and central Washington to Spokane and Walla Walla County.
Result: The city of Renton easily approved the ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage.

Feb. 24: Nikki Haley’s home state

After losing New Hampshire by eleven percentage points in January, Haley said she didn’t need to win the next state primary in which she’ll face Trump, but just needed to do better. It just so happens that the next state is South Carolina, where she served as governor for eight years. Could she really minimize a loss in her home state, should the latest polls prove right? 

Adding to Haley’s headache: South Carolina is the first state that will allocate its delegates through a winner-take-all method, rather than proportionally. Eight years ago, this proved to be Trump’s first triumph as he banked all 50 delegates with just 33 percent of the statewide vote and decisively pulled away from the field, never looking back.
Result: Trump won the South Carolina primary, defeating Haley in her home state. By carrying the first congressional district, Haley got three of 50 delegates, with Trump securing the rest.

Feb. 27: Michigan’s primaries

“See you in Michigan,” Dean Phillips, the U.S. representative challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination, tweeted at the president on the night of the South Carolina Democratic primary, when he got 2 percent. Michigan will be his next meeting with Biden. But in the run-up to the primary, Michigan organizers angry with the White House policy in Gaza urged voters to cast a vote for the “uncommitted” option.

On the Republican side, Haley’s allies have already invested in Michigan, which is likely her final chance to score a victory before the contest goes national on Super Tuesday the following week (15 states vote March 5). But nothing is straightforward in presidential politics: Only some of Michigan’s delegates will be decided in the Feb. 27 primary, with Republicans caucusing in Detroit four days later to decide the rest.
Result: Biden and Trump carried their respective party primaries.