Redistricting and top 2 method debut at primary election

Feeling more like a rat maze experiment than a primary election, redistricting and the passage the “top 2” method have left may voters foggy about which districts Claremont now claims.

Redistricting in 2011 moved Claremont to State Senate District 25 for the November election, with the new lines also placing Claremont in the newly-created 27th Congressional and 41st Assembly districts.

The “top 2” procedure goes into effect this election, meaning the 2 highest vote-earning candidates in the primary will advance to November’s ballot. Proposition 14 was approved by voters in 2010, and requires that all candidates—Republican, Democrat or otherwise—run in a single primary. Balloters could vote for any candidate regardless of party affiliation, creating the possibility that the final candidates would be from the same party.

This time around, in the 41st assembly district, Claremont resident and Republican Donna Lowe is taking her first stab at public office ending as the second-highest primary vote earner with 13,892 votes. In November, she will face Pasadena City Council member Chris Holden (D), who came in first with 17,129 votes. Trailing these top 2 candidates was Republican Ed Colton, who received 10,647.

In state measures, Proposition 28, which sought to limit California legislators’ terms in office from 14 years to 12 years in either the California State Senate or the California State Assembly, passed with 2,319,918 votes. Although reducing the total number of years a member may serve, the change will increase the number of years a legislator can remain in the assembly from 6 years to 12 years and from 8 years to 12 years in the state senate.

Those in favor of Prop 28 regard it as a watered-down version of term-limit reform, in that the measure seeks to make amendments to Proposition 140 passed by voters in 1990. Prop 140 limited state assembly members to three 2-year terms (6 years total) and state senators to two 4-year terms (8 years total), creating a 14-year service limit in both offices combined. Legislators in office prior to 1990 were not impacted by the passage of Prop 140.

Tuesday’s primary resulted in a very close contest for Proposition 29, the cigarette tax for cancer research measure. Yes votes totaled 1,894,871; No votes totaled 1,958,047. Critics argue that although Prop 29 will create approximately $735 million in new taxes annually, there are no requirements that the new revenues be spent in California for job creation or education. Without these specifications, those in opposition maintain it will create more bureaucracy. The office of the secretary of state has 28 days to ratify votes and verify vote-by-mail ballots.

On the presidential front, Republican Mitt Romney walked away with 1,151,275 votes from California balloters with President Barack Obama garnering 1,561,290 votes. Ron Paul (R) was second in line for Republicans, taking 147,900 votes.

In the newly-created 27th Congressional district, the top 2 vote-getters—Congressmember Judy Chu (D) and Republican challenger Jack Orswell—will face off in the November election. Ms. Chu ended with 40,705 votes; Mr. Orswell, 16,808.

In State Senate District 25, Incumbant Carol Liu (D) led the primary with 51,373 votes followed by Republican challenger Gilbert Gonzales with 43,062.

A story on Ms. Lowe, and her goals and experiences during her first-time run for office, will be published in an upcoming edition.

—Kathryn Dunn


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