Big changes in California primary
June 5, 2012
California now has an open “top-two” primary, meaning voters do not have to belong to a certain political party in order to cast a ballot for congressional, legislative and statewide races. [KABC]
The first- and second-place winners, regardless of party, will move on to the November general election, except in the case of the presidential, central committee, and local races.
The reasoning behind the “top-two” primary was to help elect more moderate people to the legislature. This is slated to help end gridlock by electing lawmakers who are more willing to compromise.
Critics say the new system could result in candidates from the same party being the top two, said KABC.
That could be the case for Central Coast’s 24th Congressional District, where the election could include two Republicans in the fall. Republican candidates Abel Maldonado and Chris Mitchum are pitted against incumbent Democrat Lois Capps. The top two will face off in November.
In 2010, Proposition 20 took the redistricting process out of the legislature’s hands and into an independent committee. While some districts have shifted slightly one way or another, the 24th is considered to have one of the biggest changes with a democratic advantage dropping from 20 points to a mere three percent, making it possible for a Republican to take control of a seat that has been filled by a Democrat since 1996.
Capps has been the incumbent since winning a special election in 1998 after the death of her husband, Representative Walter Capps in October of 1997.
In 1994, Maldonado won a seat on the Santa Maria City Council, became mayor in 1996, the served in the Assembly, Senate and as Lieutenant Governor.
He has recently been under fire for $4 million in unpaid taxes his family business owes. In addition, Maldonado, recently dubbed awol Abel, has failed to respond or show at nine events in some cases providing less than an hour notice.
Recent polls show Chris Mitchum amd Maldonado are currently neck and neck. The polls do not include Capps.
The Republican establishment appears to favor the son of actor Robert Mitchum and former assembly candidate Chris Mitchum over Maldonado.