Usually, if you make a political run against someone in your own party, you have just one chance any given year: the primary election. But under new rules passed by California voters in 2010, several intra-party feuds are continuing until November in the Golden State. Tuesday was the first state-wide test of the new “jungle primary” or “top-two primary,” in which all candidates compete against each other regardless of party affiliation. Only the top two vote getters will be on the November general election ballot. In a handful of races, this means voters will see two Democrats — or two Republicans — pitted against one another. Political scientist Bruce Cain, the executive director of the University of California Washington Center, says these intra-party fights will be “spots of white-hot intensity.”
While votes are still being counted in some regions, intra-party battles appear likely in several congressional districts, including California’s 30th and 31st Congressional Districts. In both of these races, super PACs and other outside groups have already spent significant sums in support of their preferred candidates — and are not likely to stand down any time soon.
Thanks to redistricting in California’s 30th Congressional District, two Democratic incumbents — Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman — squared off on Tuesday and are now headed to a rematch in November. Sherman prevailed on Tuesday by about 10 percentage points, despite more a half-million dollars being spent by a pro-Berman super PAC. “This campaign wasn’t geared toward June,” Berman told his supporters who gathered at his campaign headquarters Tuesday night, the Jewish Journal reported. “It was geared toward November.”