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In Today's 'Super Tuesday,' There's a Big Wild Card

California's 'top two' voting system could hurt Democrats' hopes of a 'blue wave'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2018 10:45 AM CDT
In this file photo, signs direct voters outside the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(Newser) – Voters in eight states vote Tuesday in primaries, and the big focus is on California because it's seen as a gauge of whether Democrats can take control of the House. The party needs to take 23 GOP seats overall, and Tuesday's races in California feature at least seven contenders—seats currently held by Republicans in districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. As the AP notes, no other state has more than three such seats. Things to watch in California and elsewhere:

  • 'Top two' voting: One hard-to-predict factor is that California uses a "top two" system in which the 1-2 finishers for each race—even if they're in the same party—advance to the November general election, reports CNN. That raises the possibility that Democrats in packed races might hurt their party's chances by splitting the vote. On the flip side, Republicans could be shut out of the governor's race in November if Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both Democrats, finish 1-2. Republican John Cox is his party's best chance to crack the top two.

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