With 100% of precincts now reporting, it appears that California's first statewide test of its new top two open primary system did not result in higher levels of voter turnout, as had been predicted by supporters of the system. Indeed, this primary election may be noteworthy for its historically low voter turnout in a presidential election year. Preliminary reports indicate that voter turnout across the state hovered in the 30-35% range, with the vast majority of eligible voters opting to stay home rather than head to the polls.
Given that the results of the election have not yet been certified, in the present article we'll provide a broad overview of preliminary results currently being reported by the Secretary of State. In the race for US Senate, incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein has received just under 50% of the vote. In all likelihood she will face off against Republican Elizabeth Emken in November. Emken currently holds second place in the race with 12.5% support.
A similar dynamic played out in races for US House. In all but 11 of the 53 contests for the People's House, voters will have to decide between a Democrat and a Republican in runoff elections this November. In the 45 races featuring an incumbent lawmaker, it appears all but certain that the incumbent will proceed to the November election. In 8 separate races, voters will have a choice between two members of the same party on the general election ballot. In CD's 8 and 31, voters will have a choice between two Republicans this November. In six other districts (15, 30, 35, 40, 43 and 44), two Democrats will be the only choices on the ballot in the general election.
Independents, or candidates who stated they have no party preference, will proceed to the general election in four separate districts: Marilyn Singleton in CD13, Terry Philips in CD23, David Hernandez in CD29, and Bill Bloomfield in CD33. However, they will have their work cut out for them over the course of the next five months to close the large gap separating them from the first place Democrat or Republican party finisher, who is an incumbent in three of the four races.
Twenty seats in the California State Senate are up for election this year. In three of those races, the 3rd, 9th and 33rd districts, there was but one candidate on the primary ballot. In districts 13 and 15, it appears voters will have a choice between two Democrats this November. In the remaining 15 districts, a Democrat and a Republican will likely proceed to the general election, including all incumbents who stood for re-election. There was one Libertarian and one Independent candidate in two of these districts. Neither will proceed to the general election.
Primaries were held for all 80 seats in the California State Assembly yesterday. There was only one candidate on the ballot in 4 of those districts: the 14th, 15th, 31st and 64th. In 6 separate contests, two Republicans will proceed to the general election. In 12 more, there will be two Democrats on the ballot this November. There was at least one third party or Independent candidate in 14 of these contests. Chad Walsh in Assembly District 28, was the only challenger to incumbent Democrat Paul Fong and therefor will advance to the general election. Walsh had the best showing of the night for an independent, garnering 46.3% of the vote.
There were four separate third party presidential primary contests in yesterday's election. In the Libertarian Party contest, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson stole the show with just under 50% support. In the race for the nomination of the American Independent Party, Edward Noonan has a slight lead over Laurie Roth. In the Green Party primary, Jill Stein of Massachusetts took the top spot with just under 49% support. And finally in the Peace and Freedom Party primary, former Salt Lake City Major Rocky Anderson beat Stewart Alexander with over 43% of the vote.