California’s Primaries Present Opportunities and Challenges for Both Parties

The road to winning – or retaining — the House majority likely runs through competitive districts in California, and the top-two “jungle” primary in June is causing headaches for Republicans and Democrats, who see its potential to tilt the playing field.

In the Golden State, the top two primary vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party. And in several targeted Republican House districts, Democrats have enough viable candidates to risk fracturing the vote and allowing two Republicans to advance to the general election, losing any opportunity to flip critical seats.

At the same time, however, some Republicans concede they are unlikely to field a candidate for U.S. Senate and are in danger of missing the gubernatorial general election ballot as well, which would leave both races at the top of the ballot entirely Democratic, thus potentially diminishing Republican voter turnout in the fall.

“The open primary giveth and the open primary taketh from Republicans,” said Bill Whalen, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and former top aide to GOP Gov. Pete Wilson. “It potentially can give Republicans three seats back they might otherwise lose, but it might also cost Republicans at the top of the ticket.”

Read more at RealClearPolitics.