Playing Chess on the Prop 14 Game Board

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Los Angeles County election officials say we won’t know
until at least Friday who will be in the runoff for the 36th
Congressional District seat. This race could prove the first test of
Proposition 14 and not merely in the sense of having two members of the same
party facing each other in the general election.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn, a Democrat, is
safely the frontrunner with 13,137 votes. Republican businessman Craig Huey is
second with 11,648 votes. Democrat Debra Bowen, California’s Secretary of
State, ranks third just 206 votes behind Huey. There are 9,811 ballots yet to
count, some mail-in ballots, provisional ballots or damaged ballots.

Proposition 14 calls for the top two vote getters to face
off in the general election, which is July 12. Should Bowen surpass Huey in the
final count then Proposition 14 would be in full effect – two Democrats facing
each other because they captured the top two spots in the primary.

If that result comes to pass, what move does Huey make? He
captured about 22-percent of the vote. (Turnout was approximately 16-percent of
registered voters. There is no guarantee it will be much greater than that in
July.) Huey’s endorsement could be crucial if he has the power to move his
supporters behind one of the final candidates.

The Republican would consider which of the two remaining
candidates is closer to his thinking. Of course, he may cast a pox on both the
candidates and walk away in frustration. Or he may try to play kingmaker (or in
this case-queen maker) on the congressional chessboard; perhaps seeking
promises from the candidates on an issue important to him.

Isn’t that what the creators of Proposition 14 sought? Influence
from the defeated party to seek a more moderate alternative from the winning
party?

We’ll find out soon if this congressional race is the test
case and we’ll see if it works.

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