California: Year of Change Kicks Off in Jungle Primaries

by
June 6, 2012

By Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call

The year of change in California’s Congressional delegation officially kicked off on Tuesday.

It was the Golden State’s first regularly scheduled “jungle” primaries in a federal election cycle, and there was no lack of interesting finishes. Along with redistricting and retirements, it led to some contested primaries in a state unaccustomed to competitive House races. Under the new format, each district held only one primary contest, with the top two vote-getters — regardless of party — set to advance to the general election.

In the biggest shock of the night, it appears that the Democrats will not have a candidate on the general election ballot in the 31st district, where the party was poised to score a pickup. While the race hasn’t officially been called, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) finished behind Rep. Gary Miller (R) and state Sen. Bob Dutton (R) thanks to three other Democrats taking a combined 25 percent of the vote.

Many had thought Miller could become the first California Member to lose this cycle. But with 100 percent of precincts reporting, the Republican was in first place with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Dutton with 25 percent and Aguilar with 23 percent. This one could hurt in the Democrats’ hopes of regaining control of the House, with the Republican dodging a major bullet.

Here are the other highlights, by district (candidates certain to advance are in bold):

26th (89 percent of precincts reporting) — state Sen. Tony Strickland (R) 44 percent; state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) 26 percent; Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks (I) 19 percent.

Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief with Brownley appearing to escape the primary. It could have ended badly for the Democrats in this swing district had Parks, a one-time Republican, squeaked by. The race still has not been called, but Brownley appears headed for a competitive general election against Strickland.

To read more, visit:  http://atr.rollcall.com/california-year-of-change-kicks-off-in-jungle-primaries/

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