History, politics, people of Oly WA

Hey, lookee here, Top Two didn’t hurt parties in swing districts

Kari from Blue Oregon pokes a nice big hole in one of the main arguments in the Top Two primary, that a major party could be “aced out” (boy I love that term this morning) in a swing district:

The argument goes something like this: In a top-two primary, situations would arise in which districts that are usually closely divided between the Democrats and Republicans could wind up with a general election featuring two candidates from the same party – effectively wiping out the other party’s “right” to contest a close seat in the November election. Presumably, that situation could arise with four (or more) candidates tightly bunched together — say Donnie Democrat 26%, Lucy Liberal 25%, Ralph Republican 24%, Connie Conservative 23%. And while the Democrats combined for only 51% of the vote, they would get 100% of the spots in the general election (acing out the GOP.)

But here’s the thing: In Washington’s inaugural top-two primary, across 124 separate legislative races, that didn’t happen a single time. In fact, in every single swing district, the top two candidates were one Democrat and one Republican.

Read his entire post, its well worth your time.

Also, given the weird situation with Halvorson, Romero and whatever the Republican’s name was, this “swing districts will still elect a Republican and a Democrat” theory holds water.


  1. Chad Lupkes

    Congrats to both parties for doing the hard work necessary to push their candidates past the primary. It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have an “aced out” situation, just that it didn’t happen in 2008.

    My concerns were more focused on the non-swing districts in the deep color areas. The 46th will have two Democrats running in the general election, and the Republicans will have nobody to vote for except to spoil our race because their guy didn’t get 2nd place. The same thing is happening in a few of the Republican strongholds, losing some motivation for local Democrats to come to the polls.

  2. Anonymous

    Top 2 obliterates the reason to have a primary in the first place and now is simply a useless waste of money. A stupid, stupid idea that should be dropped immediately.

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