“Top Two” Open Primary System Allowing New Coalitions Between Voters & Candidates
Proclaiming that California voters now have the tools to take on a government broken by partisanship, IndependentVoice.Org, a statewide association of independent voters, announced its “Post Partisan” Candidate Endorsements.
The group endorsed candidates Abel Maldonado (Republican, 24th Congressional District), Marc Levine (Democrat, 10th Assembly District), Bill Bloomfield (No Party Preference, 33rd Congressional District), and Chad Walsh (No Party Preference, 28th Assembly District). The candidates were selected based on their demonstrated support for political reforms that empower independent voters – referred to as “No Party Preference” in California – like the “top-two” open primary and redistricting reform.
“For the first time in over a decade, independent voters will have a real voice in state and congressional races,” said Jason Olson, the Director of IndependentVoice.Org. “Independent voters believe that government mostly does what’s best for the political parties, and not the people. Independents strongly support the kind of democracy reforms needed to return power to the voters. We're proud to stand with candidates who want to work with independents to lead us beyond destructive partisanship and move the country forward.”
The 2012 election marks the debut of the open “top two” primary system and new districts drawn by a citizens commission instead of the State Legislature. Rather than running in party primaries, all candidates ran in a non-partisan voter primary in June. All voters were able to participate and vote for any candidate regardless of party, with the top two candidates moving on to a “run-off style” November election. IndependentVoice.Org was a key proponent of the successful redistricting reform and “top two” open primary measures passed by California voters.
IndependentVoice.Org is part of the national independent movement pushing for similar reforms around the country, including in Arizona where this fall voters will have the opportunity to pass a “top two” open primary system.
Independent voters have been the fastest growing segment of the electorate in California over the past several decades. The most recent report by the Secretary of State puts the total number of “No Party Preference” voters at just over 3.6 million voters, or 21.28% of all registered voters.
- Abel Maldonado, a Republican who formerly served as Lt. Governor and a State Legislator, is running in the 24th Congressional District in Santa Barbara County. Maldonado has a long record of working with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve meaningful reform. Most notably, he led the effort to reform the state’s broken worker’s compensation system and worked with the IndependentVoice.org to successfully reform elections in California by putting the “top two” open primary on the 2010 ballot. “The problem with government is Republicans attack Democrats and Democrats attack Republicans, all-the-while the people’s problems just get worse”, said Maldonado. “I fought for the ‘top two’ open primary because we need to change the behavior of our politicians and that begins with changing the way they are elected. Now and with the help of IndepedentVoice.Org, candidates have to talk to everyone to get elected, not just a small segment of an ideological base. No longer will the 3.6 million independent voters in California be excluded from fully participating in the election process. Hopefully, this is the first step in what will be national campaign of reform to give independents a full voice in our democratic process.”
- Marc Levine, a Democrat, is a San Rafael City Councilmember and candidate for California's 10th Assembly District in Marin and Sonoma. Marc has a record of innovation and practical problem solving at the local level. Highlighting the approximately two-dozen contests across California between members of the same party, Levine is running against another Democrat who is supported by the Sacramento establishment. “I’m a strong Democrat who recognizes the vital importance of recognizing and reaching out to independent voters, and the importance of reforms that empower all voters regardless of party,” said Levine. “Unaligned voters want to see results, not special interest politics or partisan bickering – and they are fed up with Sacramento’s broken political culture. If elected, I will strive to get Sacramento working again for our communities and to ensure that the voices of independent voters are heard in the State Capitol.”
- Bill Bloomfield, an independent (“No Party Preference”), is a longtime political reform advocate and successful businessman running in the 33rd Congressional District that spans the coastal area of Los Angeles. Many political observers feel that he has the best chance of any independent Congressional candidate in the country to win his race. "I felt compelled to run for Congress because our country won’t be able to recover from a few more years of a hyper-partisan and broken Congress,” said Bloomfield. “We must confront the power and influence of the special interests. Its time to force both major parties to start solving problems and stop playing partisan political games that threaten our nation's future. That’s why I’m proud to have the endorsement of IndependentVoice.Org and the independent voters they represent."
- Chad Walsh, an independent (“No Party Preference”), is a Trustee and former Governing Board President of the local community college district and successful businessman running in the 28th Assembly District in Silicon Valley. Walsh, empowered by the new “top two” open primary and fairly drawn district, is running on a message of “moving beyond partisanship.” “We need solutions more than ever, but all we get from Sacramento is divisive partisanship from politicians who are serving narrow special interests or strictly partisan agendas,” said Walsh. I'm running for State Assembly to help move California beyond partisanship and special interests and provide solutions to the issues that people care about. Independent voters have been at the forefront of that fight, and I’m proud to receive the endorsement of IndependentVoice.Org.”