If We Did Not Have The Top Two Primary …

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

If we did not have the top two Open Primary Election on June 5 …

Brad Sherman would be returning to Washington, D.C. as David the Giant Slayer.

Pete Stark would have been guaranteed at least two more years in Congress.

Former GOP Assembly Member Rico Oller would be thanking his tea party supporters for returning him to one final term in the Assembly.

Assembly Members Michael Allen and Betsy Butler would be on the phone thanking Assembly Speaker John Pérez for his help in their being reelected.

San Francisco County Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting would be looking forward to easily defeating his token Republican opponent in November.

They would all be running in safe seats where winning the Primary is tantamount to winning in November.

Instead …

Sherman will go one on one with fellow Democrat Howard Berman in November, redistricting having placed them in the same congressional district.

Octogenarian Stark will face a stiff challenge from young Dublin City Councilman/Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell.

Oller will be squaring off against the less doctrinaire Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow.

Allen and Butler, both who had to move into their new district to run, will be challenged by a popular local elected official … San Rafael Councilman Marc Levin against Allen, and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom against Butler.

Ting is up against Michael Breyer, son of the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

They are among the candidates in 25 districts … seven Congressional (5 Dem; 2 Rep), two state Senate (both Dems) and 16 state Assembly (10 Dem; 6 Rep) … who will be running against an opponent of their own party in the November General Election. An additional Assembly race is currently too close to call.

Most of these same party runoffs will be highly competitive, the likely winners being those who do well not only with voters of their own party but also succeed in convincing independents and voters of the opposite party to cross over and support them.  And hopefully, these newly elected officials will remember that when they go to Sacramento or Washington, D.C.

Not all went the way supporters of the top two primary had hoped.

None of the No Party Preference candidates who were considered serious contenders were able to be among the top two, including Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, coming in third behind state GOP Senator Tony Strickland and Democratic Assembly Member. Julia Brownley. But the Democratic House leadership and independent expenditure committees attuned to their agendas had to spend $1 million in a multi-media campaign in support of Brownley and an additional $100,000 in mailers attacking Parks.

The poor showing by NPP candidates may be attributed to the very low voter turnout … about 30% statewide. This can be attributed in part to there being no serious statewide election or ballot initiative to motivate voters to turn out. In low turnout elections, the voters who turn out tend to be the most partisan.

The first real test as to the electability of NPP candidates may be in 2014, when there will be a race for governor, along with all the other constitutional offices.

Considering the weakness of the California Republican Party, maybe a wealthy Republican will attempt to challenge Jerry Brown not as a Republican, but as a No Party Preference candidate.

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