California candidates set to battle in new political landscape

March 18, 2012

By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times

Filing has closed, the candidate lists are final and the curtain has risen on California’s reconstructed political stage, where the contests for 153 congressional and legislative seats will play out for the first time under new rules and in altered districts.

Look for intraparty fights that will last into the November runoffs, a likely lack of third-party candidates on the fall ballot and, possibly, a larger number of contested seats, compliments of a new primary system and a redrawing of political maps that did not seek to protect incumbents.

Voters authorized the two new wrinkles in this year’s elections. In 2010 they approved Proposition 14, which requires that all candidates, regardless of party, appear on a single ballot received by all voters. Only the candidates who finish first and second in the June 5 primary will move on to the Nov. 6 general election, all but eliminating the chances of most third-party candidates, who used to be granted a spot on the runoff ballot no matter how poorly they fared in the primary.

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