In the race for the 50th Assembly District, California's new primary system—where the top two candidates move onto the general election, regardless of political party—was a boon to Richard Bloom, the L.A. Weekly reported Tuesday.
That's because under the old partisan primary system, Bloom probably wouldn't have made it to the November run-off, according to the weekly, which based its report on information from CalTech political science graduate student Andrew Sinclair.
Sinclair, who worked on the survey with CalTech political scientist Mike Alvarez, notes that under the old system, Betsy Butler, who had the backing of the California State Democratic Party, would have probably won the Democratic primary.
Bloom, another Democrat, would have been gone, and Butler would have faced Republican Brad Torgan in the run-off. In liberal [Assembly District] 50, Butler would have easily trounced Torgan.
Instead, under this year's top two primary, two Democrats—Butler and Bloom—faced each other in the run-off. Bloom, who was not the choice of the state and local Democratic party machines, then made the AD 50 race much more competitive.
With some ballots still uncounted, Bloom currently leads the contest by 888 votes—his biggest lead since the Nov. 6 election.
The L.A. Weekly calls Bloom the race's "underdog." He was outspent by almost $1 million. (By mid-October, the California Democratic Party had contributed to Butler's campaign.)
Democratic candidate Torie Osborn also raised and spent a lot amount of money on campaign mailers during the June primary, but Sinclar's survey shows many voters still did not know her as well as Bloom and Butler, the weekly reported.
Osborn placed fourth during the primary, behind Torgan.
"Voters had more information about Butler and Bloom," Sinclair told the weekly.
So why is Bloom now leading Butler?
Sinclair surmised more voters saw him as the candidate who was closest to the political middle.