California's top-two primary encourages gamesmanship.
Democrats are helping a California GOP House candidate in hopes that he will split up his party's vote and thus enable a Democrat to come in second. Jordan Graham at the Orange County Register:
National Democrats have spent $137,000 in recent days promoting an Orange County Republican congressional candidate in a complex strategy aimed at helping a Democrat survive the June 5 primary to make the November ballot.
The radio ads and robocalls supporting John Gabbard, a GOP candidate in the crowded 48th Congressional District contest, seem to be part of an unorthodox tactic to siphon votes away from the race’s top leading Republicans, incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and former Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh.
Due to California’s jungle primary system, which advances the top two vote-getters regardless of party, it’s possible both Rohrabacher and Baugh could make it to November, leaving Democrats without a candidate in the race. The leading Democrats in the race for the 48th are businessman Harley Rouda and stem-cell biologist Hans Keirstead.
Fearing an all-GOP ballot, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has spent $5.4 million in three Orange County congressional races in recent weeks, including some money that, on its face, might help Republican candidates. Until this week, the DCCC’s strategy has been to attack the contests’ second and third-place Republicans, including $1.7 million opposing Baugh, in an effort to consolidate GOP votes around one top candidate.