Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52) could perform an odd trick over the next few months: lose his primary but win the general election. How? California’s all-party primary offers a tempting opportunity to compare candidates ahead of the general election, but the Golden State has a track record of spitting out very different results in June and November.
— In 2012, nearly every Democratic House candidate matched against a Republican in California improved on their party’s primary vote share in the general election. (See the results in graphical form here.) That includes 8 districts, like Rep. Mark Takano‘s (D), where Democrats got less than half of the primary vote but went on to win the general. Takano got 59% in CA-41 after he and another Democrat combined for just 46% in the primary — leading some forecasters in DC and California to downgrade Takano’s chances after he won the nomination.
— The 2012 results confirm the trend from California’s previous two all-party primaries, in 1998 and 2000. In those years, Democrats improved their standing in 66 House races between primary and general, while Republicans only did it 17 times — mostly by marginal amounts in seats that were safely Democratic.
— Young people and especially Latinos are far less likely to turn out in California’s primaries, pushing the results away from what they look like with a full electorate in the fall. It’s the same effect that hurts Democratic performance in midterms versus presidential elections.
That’s not to say California Dems like Peters shouldn’t be worried about November; he and others will have tough races. But no one should use Tuesday’s primary results to write them off. Even though they match up potential opponents early on, all-party primaries are not as useful for comparing candidates as they seem.
— Scott Bland
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Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."
Conrad Burns, the colorful livestock auctioneer and radio executive from Montana who served three terms as a senator, died on Thursday at age 81. Burns "was ousted from office in 2006 under the specter of scandal after developing close ties to "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff," although no charges were ever filed.
In an exchange not ripped from the page of The Onion, Vice President Biden revealed to a Vatican cardinal that he's been betting reporters on which cars are faster. After meeting privately with Pope Francis, Biden met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State. Within moments of greeting one another, Biden said that he'd met with the pope and, gesturing to the press pool, "I've met with these guys too." Singling out reporter Gardiner Harris, who recounted the exchange, he said, "I had to pay this man $10. He's from the New York Times. We had a bet: which is the faster car, the newer Cadillac or the new [Tesla]. ... The Tesla's two tenths of a second faster. But I lost. I paid my $10." He joked that he's "seeking absolution."