For those who hoped that an open, nonpartisan primary in California would bring in a new wave of independent candidates and voters, Tuesday’s primary might have felt like a splash of cold water. Turnout remained stubbornly low, and the vast majority of candidates who advanced to the fall election were registered Republicans and Democrats. But the election did provide a few surprises that would not have been possible with a traditional primary. For one thing, there could be as many as eight Congressional races in which two candidates from the same party run against each other in November’s general election. In 2010, voters approved plans to create an open primary, in which voters choose candidates regardless of their political affiliation and the top two vote getters move to the general election. For those who pushed for the change, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, then the governor, the changes were meant to break partisan gridlock and encourage candidates to cater to the middle. There was certainly no revolution this year. Still, there are some signs that the changes will affect the way Congressional and legislative races are run this year.
The real impact of the top-two primary system will be more acutely felt in the fall, as members of the same political party battle in the general election, said Dan Schnur, the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. Tuesday’s results mean that roughly one of every five seats in the state’s Congressional delegation will be contested by candidates with the same party affiliation. A race that pits two candidates from the same party against each other, Mr. Schnur said, will be “maddening for parties but a huge opportunity for voters” because politicians who win will be more likely to compromise.
Full Article: Independents Falter in California Primary – NYTimes.com.