Under the Influence: Money and Power in Politics
Jessica Porter: February 2011 Archives

Backgrounder: The Money Behind California's Open Primaries

How Prop 14 works. Click to enlarge. (Jessica Porter)Yesterday Republican Sharon Runner of Lancaster and Democrat Ted Lieu of Torrance became the first to win office outright under the new open primary system in California. Because both candidates won more than 50 percent of the vote, respectively, neither will have to go to a runoff.

In the past, one candidate from every political party was put on a ballot for the general election. Under the new system, which was voted into law as Proposition 14 last June, all candidates are lumped into a single primary. If no one wins a majority of the vote, the top two, regardless of political party, advance to the general election. That means two candidates from the same party could face off in a general election. And that, in theory, could lead to more moderate candidates, since a Republican voter would likely pick the more conservative of two Democrats, and vice versa. It also means that third-party candidates are likely not to be represented in the general election.

So, taking a look back for a moment, who put money on Prop 14, and who stands to benefit?