Frustrated that Democrats dominate elective office in California, a Republican eyeing a 2018 run against Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to repeal the state’s top-two primary system that he says shuts out Republicans and disproportionately propels left-wing Democrats into office. “There’s no question more liberal candidates have been more successful,” said Thomas Palzer, who is pushing an initiative for the November 2018 ballot to repeal a clause in the California Constitution that says regardless of party, the top two vote-getters in a primary election advance to a November runoff. “To me, that’s not representative government.”
Voters adopted the top-two primary system in 2010 after a political deal involving former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then state Sen. Abel Maldonado put it on the ballot. It was aimed at encouraging more competitive races and seen as a way to help more moderate candidates get elected.
“That was really a lie,” Palzer said, noting the Democratic hold on the state Legislature, where they have a supermajority. Palzer also mentioned last year’s U.S. Senate race, in which Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris faced off against former Rep. Loretta Sanchez, also a Democrat. It was the first time since 1914 that a Republican wasn’t on a general election ballot.