As campaigns under California’s new open primary begin to take shape, the implications of the new electoral process are starting to make themselves more apparent. This year, all voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation and only the top-two vote-getting candidates will compete in the general election.
Yesterday, an opinion editorial in the Modesto Bee by UC Merced political science professor Nathan W. Monroe called attention to the race in the Central Valley’s 10th Congressional district, which has pitted an incumbent party-line Republican Jeff Denham and a Democrat from Texas, Jose Hernandez, against a hometown independent candidate and son of former Central Valley representative Gary Condit, Chad Condit.
Monroe writes in the op-ed titled “Congressional Race Could be History Making“:
“Under the new system, an independent candidate only has to get enough votes in June to be second place. If he can, he gets to go head to head against just one of the major party candidates in November, instead of both … [L]ooking at valley representatives, past and present, a candidate of Condit’s moderate stripes could get serious traction.”
Chad Condit’s Congressional campaign website posted an interesting video of a campaign rally that took place late last week. The video features local speakers supporting Condit’s independent run for Congress that include the President of the University of Merced Democratic Club and a representative for the local sheriff’s association.
But, the highlight of the 5 minute presentation comes at the end when former Democratic Congressman Gary Condit follows his wife with an impassioned prediction that the younger Condit’s independent run is “just the beginning” of a movement that will ultimately succeed in wresting control of government from the Washington, DC political party power brokers. When in Congress, the senior Condit was one of the original founders of the Blue Dog Democrats who once wielded particularly significant power in Congress during Bill Clinton’s second term.