One of the assertions of proponents of the Top Two primary was that it would increase competition. That’s because it would give hope to challengers in districts that are dominated by one party or the other by giving them more chance of reaching the general election.
I’m not sure if it is Top Two or other factors unique to each election, but the number of contested primaries has increased steadily since the state swapped the pick-a-party primary for the Top Two.
In 2006, the last year for pick-a-party in which voters had to ask for one party’s ballot and could only pick among those candidates, there were five contested U.S. House primaries (out of a possible 18), five state Senate primaries (out of 48 possible) and 11 state House primaries (out of 196 possible).
In 2008, the debut of Top Two, the numbers went up to seven U.S. House contested races, seven state Senate and 25 state House.
This year, the numbers went up again in two of the three categories – 12 contested U.S. House primaries, seven state Senate and 41 state House.
So, is it Top Two or hotter-than-normal election years. Feel free to discuss.