So reports Richard Winger (Ballot Access News) about the effects of California’s open primary law, under which the top two vote-getters in the primary — regardless of party — compete in the general election. (The more common system, of course, is for the top vote-getters of each party to compete in the general.)
California’s 31st U.S. House district ballot in November 2012 will list two Republicans, Gary G. Miller and Bob Dutton. At the June 5, 2012 primary, Miller placed first with 26.9% of the vote, and Dutton placed second, with 25.1% of the vote.
However, the district has more registered Democrats than registered Republicans. The registration in the district is: Democratic 40.8%, Republican 35.3%, independent 19.3%, other parties 3.6%. The district is centered on San Bernardino County and had no incumbent running this year.
Four Democrats, but only two Republicans, ran in the June 5 primary. It is virtually certain that if fewer Democrats had run, Pete Aguilar, a Democratic candidate and Mayor of Redlands, would have placed among the top two. Aguilar placed third, with 22.5% of the vote. Democrats had been expecting to win this seat in November, but now it is impossible, because no Democrat is on the November ballot….
See more in this Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article. For whatever it’s worth, the district’s demographic breakdown seems to be 12% black, 7% Asian, 49% Hispanic, and 30% white, though Hispanics make up only 35% of the citizen voting age population (and of course many California Hispanics vote Republican, though generally most vote Democrat). The district went 56%-41% for President Obama, and 49%-41% for Governor Brown.