California Secretary of State Posts Tentative List of Candidates for June 2014 Primary

The California Secretary of State’s web page has a tentative list of candidates for the June 3, 2014 primary for Congress and state office. The final list will be released March 27 and will probably have a handful of additional candidates listed, after disputes over the sufficiency of their petitions is resolved.

For the partisan offices, there are 560 candidates. When these same offices were up in 2010, under the semi-closed primary, there were 654 candidates (that 2010 total does not include the fourteen candidates who ran for U.S. Senate in 2010; there is no U.S. Senate election in California in 2014, so omitting U.S. Senate from the 2010 total makes the comparison fairer). It thus appears that California’s switch from a semi-closed primary to a top-two primary has caused a 14% drop in the number of candidates who filed to be on the ballot, when the two gubernatorial election years are compared with each other.

At the 2014 primary, there are 2 U.S. House races with only one candidate, 3 State Senate races with only one candidate, 14 Assembly races with only one candidate, and one State Board of Equalization district with only one candidate. In those twenty races, there are opportunities for candidates to file as write-in candidates in the June primary, and to have some chance of placing second and qualifying to be on the November ballot. In races like that with only one write-in candidate, obviously that write-in candidate will come in second and will be on the November ballot. But there are likely to be multiple write-in candidates in most of those races. Thanks to Jim Riley for the link.


California Secretary of State Posts Tentative List of Candidates for June 2014 Primary — No Comments

  1. So in other words, Top Two Primary is doing exactly what it was intended to do, that is limit choice on the ballot and making it even easier than it already was for establishment choice candidates to get elected, or re-elected.

  2. If the Top Two was intended to get more moderates elected, then why would Republicans in states like Montana support such an idea? looks like Montana may have more candidates running in the general then California, because of this Top Two.

  3. 1/2 votes x 1/2 pack/crack gerrymander districts = about 1/4 control in ALL major legislative bodies in the USA.

    Even worse in top 2 districts having NOT having 1 D and 1 R — 2D, 2R, 1 D or R and other.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  4. There were significantly more open Assembly seats in 2010 than 2014. There were 29 in 2010 vs. 23 in 2014. Open seats average more than twice as many candidates as do seats were an incumbent is running for re-election.

    In 2010, 29 open seats had 152 candidates, or 5.24 per race; while the 51 races with incumbents had 124 candidates, or 2.43 per race. In 2014, 23 open seats have 108 candidates, or 4.69 per race; while 57 races with incumbents have 120 candidates or 2.10.

    If there were 29 open races in 2014, and the number of candidates was 4.69 per race, and there were 2.10 candidates in the other 51, there would be 244 candidates. That is, the differences in the number of incumbents accounts for about 1/3 the total drop in candidates.

    The number of Democratic candidates dropped from 123 to 122; the number of Republican candidates dropped from 125 to 99; Libertarian from 19 to 1; Green from 4 to 1; P&F from 4 to 1; AI from 1 to 0. The number of independents increased from 0 to 4 (for 2010, there were 0 independents on the November ballot).

    The drop in Republican candidates was due to several factors:

    (1) Fewer Republican open seats. In 2010, there were 12 (of 80 total, 15%) but they represented 38% of all Republican candidates. In 2014, there were 9 (11%) with 30% of all candidates.

    (2) There were fewer wide open contests, with 6 or more Republican candidates. In 2010 there were 4, in 2014 there is only one. These elections are extreme and unusual, representing Republican-districts where there are many candidates who realize that if they can just win the primary, they will have a position in the legislature for the next decade or so, with little risk of defeat. If they don’t take this opportunity, there may not be another for another decade.

    If there is a Republican incumbent, other Republicans don’t sense much opportunity to challenge the incumbent – and may have no particular desire to do so. It is expensive to run, and may be difficult to differentiate yourself from the incumbent, unless he has done something scandalous or otherwise noteworthy. If it a Democratic seat, whether or not there is an incumbent, it is unusual for more than one Republican to challenge. In 2010, 7 of 51 (14%); and 2014 9 of 55 (16%) had such a multiple Republican challenge.

    Under the old partisan primary system, even though there were some races with several Republican candidates, only Republicans could choose from among them. Even in the strongest GOP districts, less than half the voters are Republican.

    The loss of some Republican candidates may be due to Top 2. If there are 6 or 9 Republicans, it is likely because none are overly favored. If the GOP vote is badly fragmented, it is an opportunity for two Democrats to advance.

    (3) In 2014, there are many more districts with no Republican running, 13 in 2014 vs 3 in 2010. These are districts where it is essentially futile for a Republican to run. Some had D v D general elections in 2012 or the Republican candidate had 30% or less share of the vote.

    The number of independent candidates (4) is disappointing, but California is not a good place for independent candidates. Assembly districts have around 500,000 persons, and with almost the entire state in large urban areas, there is little sense of place in a district. Media buys are expensive, and largely wasted on voters not living in the district, and news coverage is limited. News coverage will not focus on individual races.

  5. Jim Riley,

    What would happen if State Senator Leland Yee makes it to the “top two” for Secretary of State, since his claim of resignation is not effective?

    Will that race “run amok” because Senator Yee allegedly may have took reprisal for the execution of “lantsman” Lim Seng in Manila by the two Philippine constabulary in 1972?

  6. A quick look that the Elections Code (8800-8811) indicates that there is no way for a candidate to withdraw. I think Senator Yee’s purported withdrawal is legally void.

    If Yee were to finish in the Top 2, and then be elected, he could presumably decline to take the oath of office. I think the governor may appoint a Secretary of State in that case.

    SB 6 provided that if there were a vacancy in nomination, that the 3rd place candidate would appear on the general election ballot. This had been the provision for nonpartisan offices, and apparently had caused little notice or alarm.

  7. Jim Riley,

    It looks to me that Leland Yee was on the losing side of the split between the MNLF and the MILF over the accord that was hammered out this week. Remembering the January 15, 1973 event at Fort McKinley, viz., the execution of “Gan Suo So” (Lim Seng) by “Musketry”,
    a Teochew “lantsman” of Senator Leland Yee, how do you place the interest of Senator Yee in those arms from the MILF and this weeks accords over the creation of
    the new government for the Moro?

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