Roll Call calls California’s primary system a “jungle primary” which presents unique issues for Democrats looking to flip several Republican-held seats.
The top two vote-getters in the June 5 primary, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. And Democrats are increasingly concerned their many candidates will end up splitting the vote among themselves, leaving two Republicans to move on to November.
So they’re looking to do something about it.
California Democrats at the federal, state and local levels have been engaged in conversations about the nightmare scenario in which no Democrat makes the ballot in November, especially in GOP districts they view as key to winning back the House.
Democratic lawmakers are already having discussions with candidates about stepping aside.
“I know that one of the hardest things to do is to get someone to not run for Congress. The only thing harder than that is to get someone to not run for Congress who’s been running for a year,” California Rep. Ted Lieu said.
“And so you can’t really force someone to not run for Congress if they want to,” said Lieu, a DCCC vice chairman. “We’re just trying to get information to campaigns and urging the ones who have not received traction to do the right thing.”
Lieu said Democrats specifically worry about the prospect of no Democrats advancing in the contests for two recently open GOP-held seats in Southern California: the 39th District, represented by Rep. Ed Royce, and the 49th District, held by Rep. Darrell Issa. Both Issa and Royce are retiring.