On May 17, California held an election to fill the vacant seat in the 36th U.S. House district. All candidates appeared on a single ballot and all voters received that ballot. The ballot listed sixteen candidates: 6 Republicans, 5 Democrats, 3 independents, one Libertarian, and one Peace & Freedom Party candidate.
UPDATED May 19 with final unofficial results — for the five Democrats: Hahn 24.62%, Bowen 21.05%, Winograd 9.30%, Adler .56%, Goodwin .50%. For the six Republicans: Huey 22.24%, Gin 7.86%, Webb 6.14%, Bobko 3.61%, Eisele 1.23%, Newberry .36%. The Libertarian, Steve Collett, received 1.41%. The Peace & Freedom Party candidate, Maria Montano, received .51%.
The three independents placed at the bottom: Matthew Roozee .25%, Katherine Pilot .20%, Michael Chamness .17%. This result tends to support the arguments made in the pending lawsuits Field v Bowen and Chamness v Bowen. Those two cases, one in state court and one in U.S. District Court, argue that independent candidates, and members of unqualified parties, are injured by being forced to have “no party preference” on the ballot next to their names. The term suggests that they have no political convictions.
Before Proposition 14 was in effect, independent candidates, and members of unqualified parties, were permitted to have the word “independent” on the ballot next to their names. “Independent” is a much more appealing label. The last time “independent” was on the ballot in a California special election was in 2010, when the independent candidate for State Senate, 15th district, Jim Fitzgerald, received 5.89% in the first round and 4.99% in the second round. Also in the November 2010 regularly-scheduled election, California had three U.S. House candidates with the “independent” label. They received 7.7% in the 47th district, 8.4% in the 37th district, and 2.9% in the 23rd district.
The next round in the 36th district special election will be on July 12.