Six Libertarians advanced to the November general election in California’s top two primary on June 5. Under California’s top-two primary system, candidates of all parties are listed on one ballot. Voters can vote for a candidate of any party in each race, and are not constrained to voting for only one party for all races. This can result in a general election with two candidates from the same party. For example, Democrat Dianne Feinstein will be opposed by Democrat Kevin de León in November.
The top-two system often excludes third-party candidates like Libertarians from being represented on general election ballots altogether. Sometimes, though, it can result in Libertarians making it to the top two. This time, six Libertarian candidates made the cut.
California Libertarian Party Chair Honor “Mimi” Robson placed second against Democrat incumbent Patrick O’Donnell in California Assembly District 70. With 17 percent of the vote, she defeated a second Democratic candidate and a Green Party candidate. She is the first Libertarian to beat a Democrat or Republican and place in the top two since California adopted its top-two primary system in 2010.
In a hotly contested five-way race, Calimesa Mayor Jeff Hewitt, who also serves as Libertarian National Committee Region 4 Representative, placed a close second in his race for the District 5 seat of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Running as a write-in candidate, Libertarian Justin Quigley placed second against incumbent Democrat Adam Gray in California’s Assembly District 21.
Another Libertarian write-in candidate, Autumn Browne, placed second against Democrat Tom Daly in Assembly District 69. Browne is the daughter of a renowned figure in Libertarian Party history, the 1996 and 2000 LP presidential candidate Harry Browne.
Chris Stare, a third Libertarian write-in candidate to qualify for the November ballot, ran against Democrat Wendy Carrillo in Assembly District 51.
Long-time Libertarian Party member Baron Bruno ran as a no-party-preference candidate in California State Senate District 26 against Democrat Ben Allen. He came in second, with 13 percent of the vote.
Brandon Nelson, a seventh Libertarian write-in candidate, may have placed second in Assembly District 4, but final results won’t be known for a few days.
All the Libertarian Party candidates who qualified in the primary now have five months of campaigning ahead of them to win the general election in November.