Under California’s recently adopted top-two primary system the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the primary advance to the general election, creating the new phenomenon of general election races between members of the same party. This year, 25 of the 158 legislative and congressional seats will entail intra-party contests. Today, four years after the passage of prop 14, analysts and partisans still debate whether or not Republicans supported the measure at the ballot in 2010. The following analysis attempts to answer that question.
Lauded by those who prefer competitive general elections, the top-two primary has made campaigns significantly more complex, and some might say more interesting. The reform has also generated frustration due to intra-party races that cause campaign dollars to be spent in so-called “safe” rather than “swing” seats. Of this year’s 25 same-party races, 7 are between Republicans and 18 between Democrats. The result is that Democrats are involved in more intra-party battles than Republicans.