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2010 continues trend of more contested primaries. Does Top Two get credit (or blame if you’re a contested incumbent)

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm with 4 Comments »
June 18, 2010 4:55 pm

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. I think it definitely did in our County Council race. In a traditional primary the first couple people to announce would lock up all the crucial endorsements and cash from the party folks and scare away everyone else. It’d be too difficult to mount an insurgent campaign in a party only primary. But being able to reach votes from both sides gives hope that they might make it through.

  2. witchiwoman says:

    Failing an open ballot like we used to have, how about a Top Three? That way the protest vote would have a venue.

  3. johnearl says:

    Top Three?

  4. johnearl says:

    Top Three sounds too much like RCV – which the voters rejected as having given them too much choice.

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