California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was the leading proponent of California’s top-two ballot measures, both in 2004 (when the proposal lost) and in June 2010 (when it won). The July 20 Sacramento Bee has this discussion with Rob Stutzman, who was the Governor’s chief of staff for communications and who still supports top-two systems. In the piece, which discusses the failure of a leading independent candidate for Secretary of State this year to qualify for the November ballot, Stutzman says, “I think an independent can win in a general election, but its extremely difficult to advance through the top-two primary.”
The piece also includes comments from Darry Sragow, a former supporter of Americans Elect. Sragow seems to sidestep taking a position on whether top-two systems are good or bad for independent candidates.
Even though both Stutzman and Sragow are experts on political campaigns, neither one of them mentions the subsidiary harm done by California’s top-two law, relative to independent candidates. The California law does not permit an independent candidate to have the ballot label “independent” on the ballot. The candidate is stuck with the unappealing label, “no party preference”. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.