Friday, June 8, 2018 '5 Independents, 2 Greens, and 1 Libertarian Advance in California Runoffs'

by Matt Welch,

When California's Proposition 14 was debated and passed in 2010, thereby creating primary elections open to all voters regardless of party registration, activists on the outside of mainstream politics worried that it would amount to a death sentence for third parties. By graduating only the top two primary finishers to the general election, they warned, the new system would lock in the advantage of Democrats and Republicans.

So how did the outsiders fare in yesterday's California primary? Just eight—five independents, two Greens, and one Libertarian—advanced to compete for one of the 166 electoral positions in November's general election. And of those, only one finished within 30 percentage points of the front-runner.

The top vote-getter of the group actually won the first round: Steve Poizner, California's insurance commissioner as a Republican from 2007-2011, ran for his old job this time as an independent, getting 41.3 percent of the vote to Democrat Ricardo Lara's 40.6 percent. But Poizner will have a fight on his hands given that the third place finisher (with 13 percent of the vote) was also a Democrat, Asif Mahmood. Rounding out the insurance commissioner vote was Nathalie Hrizi of the Peace and Freedom Party with 5.1 percent, which was higher than any other third-party candidate for California's eight statewide elected offices. (The best of the four Libertarian Party showings for those posts was Gail Lightfoot's 2.4 percent for secretary of state, good for fifth place.)..

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