[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/31/art.gov.riley.gi.jpg caption="With Alabama Gov. Bob Riley out of the mix, a slew of candidates are vying for both the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominations. "](CNN) - The polls are now open in three states - Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico - holding primaries Tuesday, and in one of those states voters could make history.
Rep. Artur Davis faces off against Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial contest. If the four-term congressman wins Tuesday's primary, he would become the state's first African-American Democratic nominee for governor. If Davis is elected in November, he would make history again, becoming Alabama's first black governor.
Seven candidates are vying to be the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Among the leading contenders are former state community college system chancellor Bradley Byrne, former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, and real estate developer Tim James. The son of two-term Gov. Fob James has created a buzz with his tough ads and speeches against illegal immigrants.
Two-term Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, is prevented from running for re-election.
New Mexico also holds gubernatorial primaries Tuesday. Five candidates are battling for the GOP nomination. The winner will face off in November against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two-term Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, is prevented from running for another term in office.
Mississippi does not hold an election for governor until next year and neither New Mexico or Mississippi have contests for U.S. Senate this year. In Alabama, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby is considered safe as he bids for a fifth term in office.
The GOP primary in Alabama's fifth Congressional district is capturing national attention. Rep. Parker Griffith made national headlines late last year by switching his party affiliation from the Democrats to the GOP. But he now faces primary challenges from two fellow Republicans, who label him a flip flopper for his party swap.
In Mississippi, Angela McGlowan is trying to become the first black Republican member of the House since JC Watts. The conservative political strategist, who was an analyst on Fox News, has been courting Tea Party activists. She and longtime state Sen. Alan Nunnelee are part of a three-way contest for the GOP nomination in Mississippi's first congressional district. The winner will face off in November against Rep. Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat who's held the seat for two years.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn