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76th Assembly District Tests Effectiveness Of Top Two Primary

Aired 11/5/12 on KPBS News.

This November election will demonstrate whether the goal of the new "Top Two" primary system is met: sending less partisan candidates to Sacramento.

This November election will demonstrate whether the goal of the new "Top Two" primary system is met: sending less partisan candidates to Sacramento.

Rocky Chavez, a candidate for state Assembly.

The 76th Assembly district in North County is a test case. The theory is that allowing voters to pick their top two candidates in the primary, regardless of party, could lead to a less extreme conservative or liberal ultimately being sent to serve in the state Assembly.

Candidates Rocky Chavez and Sherri Hodges are both Republicans. They came out top in the primary, and they are facing off tomorrow in the general election.

Hodges, a long time chief of staff for state representatives and a former school board member who pushed to ban the book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," got the Republican Party endorsement. But Chavez, a former Marine who proved to be a moderate during his term on the Oceanside City Council, got the endorsement of the pro-business Lincoln Club.

Sherri Hodges, a candidate for state Assembly.

Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the Lincoln Club, said the "Top Two" primary system gave the club more choice of whom to endorse.

"Before, the system was set up for one Republican, one Democrat," he said. "And that didn’t always lead to the best choices. Now I think what we’re seeing is the best candidates are surfacing, regardless of party affiliation."

What the voters decide tomorrow may reveal whether the "Top Two" primary system does actually lead to less acrimonious politics next year at the state capital.

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