Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Top-two aftershock has dramatic effect

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | February 26, 2014 |

One in every eight or nine earthquakes is followed by an even more powerful aftershock, officially making the first quake into a foreshock.

And the farther we get into this year’s political season, the more it seems that the stunning 2012 effects of the “top two” primary election system voters approved two years earlier were merely a foreshock.

Two years ago, the new system giving runoff election slots to the two leading primary election vote-getters for California posts produced 28 runoffs matching members of the same party. In most cases, the more moderate candidate won, as voters from the other party often decided these contests.

This year, even if intraparty runoffs should be less numerous, the effects of top-two are already even more profound. Start with the run for state controller, where current Assembly Speaker John Perez and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee figure to contest an all-Democratic runoff in November.

There are also the spate of veteran members of Congress who chose this year to retire, some because their once-safe districts would no longer be so safe for them, the competition coming from within their own parties.

The retirements will produce several dramatic contests. But most emblematic of top-two’s effects may be the re-election attempt of Democrat Mike Honda in the Silicon Valley’s 17th District, and races to succeed retiring Democrat Henry Waxman and retiring Republican Buck McKeon in Southern California.

Honda, once entrenched in a heavily Democratic district, now has a very well-financed opponent in former Deputy Commerce Secretary Ro Khanna, a fellow Democrat whose appeal to the district’s large Asian-American populace may match Honda’s. Seeing this, it’s common to assume the two will face off in November.

But not so fast. The virtually unknown Stanford University anesthesiologist Vanila Singh may well enter this race with a GOP label after her name on the ballot. Unless another Republican gets in at the last moment, that tag alone could produce enough votes to knock Khanna out of the runoff.

Things look similar in the 33rd District covering much of the Los Angeles west side and several nearby South Bay cities. Eyes are watering among droves of Democrats who spy an office without term limits. Already declared as candidates are former Los Angeles mayoral hopeful Wendy Gruel and state Sen. Ted Lieu, while Secretary of State Debra Bowen (formerly a state lawmaker from the area) and former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler consider running.

Independent and former Republican Bill Bloomfield, who picked up 45 percent of the 2012 vote when facing Waxman, could benefit from all that. If the gaggle of Democrats fractures the party’s votes, Bloomfield or fellow independent Marianne Williamson, a bestselling author, could sneak into the runoff with 30 percent or so of the primary tally.

This very kind of splintering happened two years ago in the San Bernardino County district of Republican Gary Miller, who faced another Republican in that year’s runoff despite his district’s large Democratic registration margin. Miller may not be so lucky this year.

In McKeon’s 25th District, covering a wide arc from Lancaster and Palmdale to Simi Valley, former Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, who lost a bid for Congress in a different district two years ago, is widely expected to face fellow GOPer Steve Knight, a state senator from the Antelope Valley. But if Knight and Strickland split the Republican vote, likely Democratic candidate Lee Rogers, a podiatrist who drew 45 percent of the vote last time against McKeon, could oust one of them.

One statewide race — the run to succeed the termed-out Bowen as secretary of state — figures to be similar. Prominent Democratic state Sens. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles and Leland Yee of San Francisco (and suburbs) have expected for months to face off in November. A third Democrat, Derek Cressman, former director of the good-government lobby Common Cause, and independent Dan Schnur, director of USC’s political studies institute, are also running.

But don’t bet against Republican Pete Peterson, the only one here with the GOP label, making the runoff as the others splinter non-GOP votes.

Even if all these races don’t end up as intra-party battles — and they all could — the effects of top-two grow stronger every election year. As it did last time, this probably will have a moderating influence that can help end government gridlock at both state and federal levels.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

 
Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

.

Sports

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8