The anti-incumbent fever was scarcely evident in California’s open primary held yesterday. Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been in office since 1992, easily defeated all 23 of her primary challengers. Yes, all 23. The sizeable field of candidates seeking to replace Feinstein was due in large part to California’s new “top two” open primary system. This new system lists all candidates, regardless of party, on the same ballot, and the top two vote getters then move forward to a runoff in the November general.
Senator Feinstein secured 49.3% of the total votes cast, enjoying a wide lead over her GOP challenger Elizabeth Emken who came in second with only 12.5% of the total vote. The two will now faceoff in November’s general election.
Leading up to yesterday’s election, political pundits talked of a possible matchup between Feinstein and Orly Taitz, an Orange County Republican best known for her “birther” claims against President Barack Obama.
The San Francisco Chronicle had the following to say about the unlikely pairing:
A second-place finish by Taitz would be seen in both parties as a national embarrassment for the Republican Party, rivaling the candidacy of Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell, the 2010 GOP Senate nominee in Delaware.
It seems though that the matchup was never in the cards, as Taitz finished off the night a distant fifth with only 3.1% of the total vote.
In fact, none of Feinstein’s challengers aside from Emken, who received the official endorsement of the California Republican Party, were able to break out of the single digits when it came to vote percentages. This may come as a surprise to some, considering Senator Feinstein’s job approval ratings hit an all time low earlier this year. You sure couldn’t tell by looking at the final numbers, Feinstein appears to be more than comfortable going into November.