Considering the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in New Jersey are equally committed to having as few competitive congressional and legislative districts as possible, I think that democracy in our state could definitely benefit from an open primary election law similar to California’s as described in this article about the primary election between two of California’s Democratic Congressmen, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, who faced off yesterday, and as the top-two vote-getters in their district, will face off again in November.
If New Jersey had a similar law as California, both Ron Rice and Steve Rothman would have a second chance at being elected to Congress in November as both were the second-highest vote-getters in their districts in yesterday’s primary elections. In CD9, Rothman received nearly four times as many votes as the Republican primary election winner, Rabbi Shmueley Boteach, and in CD10, I was unable to find vote totals for the Republican candidate, Brian Keleman, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that he received less than a tenth of the number of votes that Rice received.
I don’t know how California’s ballots look nor do I know if the top vote-getters in their open primary elections gain any kind of competitive advantage in the general election, but there can be no doubt that their approach is far more democratic than New Jersey’s. Obviously, it is too late for a law like this to benefit Rice or Rothman, but it is something that progressives should consider going forward and possibly work with anti-establishment conservatives to get bipartisan support for.