Top-Two Primary System May Bring End to Third Parties in CA

Top-Two Primary System May Bring End to Third Parties in CA

Patrick Hogan, running for Assembly in California’s 5th District near Sacramento, is the sole Libertarian candidate who advanced to the November general election and is one of only three minor party candidates on the ballot in California. 

The Fresno Bee reported that the new political reality is a result of a change in the state’s primary election system. Because the top two finishers of all June primaries move ahead to the November election, regardless of political party, less popular third party candidates were all but wiped out in the statewide elections.

Most of the upcoming November election races consist of showdowns between frontrunners from the Democrat and Republican parties. In some cases, elections will feature face-offs within the same major party. 

Third party candidates were almost entirely excluded from the general elections, unless they did what Hogan did–run for office as a write-in candidate against an unchallenged incumbent.

“I am aware of the challenge third-party candidates must face,” says Hogan, who is a 21-year-old community college student. “However, over 50% of Americans find they don’t identify with either Republicans or Democrats anymore. The more aware the people are of a viable third option, the better luck we will have.” Hogan faces incumbent Frank Bigelow, 60, who has served one term in the Assembly.

According to the Bee, two other minor party candidates are still running in November: an American Independent candidate faces off against Assembly Member Shirley Weber in the 79th District in San Diego, and a Peace and Freedom Party member will take on incumbent Rep. Janice Hahn in the 44th Congressional District, in Los Angeles County.


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