Voting Blogs: Welcome to the Jungle: Senate Majority May Come Down to Louisiana | State of Elections

Pundits have framed this year’s election cycle as having the potential to shift control of the United States Senate from Democrats to Republicans—and given the sheer number of close races across the country, nearly every seat in serious contention has the makings of being the deciding race. Due to Louisiana’s unusual election laws, however, the chattering class might not know which way the pendulum will swing until long after Election Day on November 4th. Louisiana’s Senate race is, by all accounts, extremely close: both Republican and Democratic party committees (as well as outside superPACs) have poured money into the state in recent weeks. Incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has struggled to distance herself from an unpopular President, is facing Republican challenger Bill Cassidy, who some have characterized as “too boring” for a state with a history of colorful political characters. Louisiana’s election laws are atypical in that they provide for a non-partisan “jungle primary” on November 4th—the general election day for the rest of the country—with the general election following a month later, if necessary, on December 6th.

Editorials: ‘Jungle primary’ brings unintended consequences | Harold Meyerson/Capital Times

Would the dysfunction of U.S. politics be dispelled if we got rid of partisan primaries? That’s the contention of Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Schumer argued that the primary system in most states, in which voters choose nominees for their respective parties who then run head to head in November, gives too much weight to the party faithful, who are inclined to select candidates who veer either far right or far left. The cure Schumer proposes for this ill is the “jungle primary,” in which all primary candidates, regardless of party, appear on the same ballot, with the top two finishers, again regardless of party, advancing to the general election. The senator cites the example of California — once the most gridlocked of states, now a place where legislation actually gets enacted — as proof that such primaries work. But Schumer misunderstands what got California working again. In so doing, he also misses the fatal flaws of the jungle primary.

Editorials: California’s jungle primary: Tried it. Dump it. | Harold Myerson/Los Angeles Times

Though county registrars are still tallying the votes in several close contests, the memory of California’s June primary has already begun to fade from the state’s collective consciousness — assuming, that is, that it ever made an imprint there at all. Before it vanishes altogether, though, Californians should take away one lesson from June’s balloting: The state’s new method for conducting primary elections is an asinine idea that can lead to perverse and anti-majoritarian consequences. The most obvious effect the jungle system has had is to convey a clear advantage to the party that runs fewer candidates for an office. Under the so-called jungle primary system, which came into being through a 2010 ballot measure that voters narrowly ratified, primary voters can cast their ballot for any candidate in the June election, and the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to the November runoff. Both the 2012 and the 2014 primaries were conducted under these rules, so we can now look at the effects this new process has had on California politics.

California: The Jungle Primary | Time Magazine

All bets are off in California’s congressional races as multiple candidates from the same party face off. Well, part of it is that Dan Schnur is an interesting guy, a longtime consultant to moderate Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain. But he isn’t a Republican anymore. He’s running as an Independent. “I’m in favor of marriage equality and lower taxes,” he begins. “I’m tough on crime and pro-choice. I’m for immigration reform and for using test scores as a valuable measure of students’ progress. Yes, the reason that I’m running as an Independent is that neither party will have me.” But that’s not exactly accurate. He’s running as an Independent because there were two political reforms enacted during Schwarzenegger’s time as governor of California. They were below the radar but startling, the sort of reforms that are near impossible because incumbent politicians usually block them–but they were passed by public referendum and initiative in 2010, and Schnur was one of those at the heart of the campaign to get them enacted.

Louisiana: Rumble Because of the Jungle: How the “Jungle Primary” has Lead to a Vicious Same Party Battle for a Congressional Seat | State of Elections

In the contemporary era of American politics, Congressional races tend to be bitter partisan battles waged between one Republican and one Democratic candidate.  Third parties operate peripherally, typically only able to bring up issues for the major party candidates to address or maybe steal votes away from one of the major partisan contenders. However, this has not been the case in the congressional race in district 3 of Louisiana.  In district 3, a vicious battle between two Republican incumbents forced the opposing Democratic candidate into the role so often reserved for third party contenders.

Arizona: ‘Jungle Primaries’ likely headed to fall election | azfamily.com

It looks like Arizona voters will get a shot at radically changing the way politics is played around here. A group that wants to abolish traditional partisan primary elections says they’ve got the support to put the question on the ballot this fall. Leaders of the Open Elections Open Government filed what they claim is a record number of petition signatures on Thursday afternoon with Arizona Secretary of State’s office. The organization needed a minimum of 259,213 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the November ballot. But a spokesman for the group says they’ve collected more than 356,000, a number they believe sets a new benchmark in Arizona.

California: Super PACs play major role in California House contests | iWatch News

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.”