In more traditional times, the Republican and Democratic candidates would be attacking each other to see who will be the next state senator from District 19 in Santa Barbara. But this isn’t business-as-usual. California now has an open primary, meaning voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party preference.
In SD-19, we have the spectacle of two liberal Democrat candidates, Jason Hodge and Hannah-Beth Jackson, increasingly targeting the other while mostly ignoring Republican Mike Stoker who hopes they split the Democratic vote and thus get him elected. Santa Barbara is well-known as a liberal enclave but still, a nasty, divisive fight between liberal candidates will almost certainly help Stoker, who is a traditional, small government businessman.
California’s first ever open primary means that the two candidates in the general election could well be from the same party. Thus, the more moderate of the two opponents will probably be favored as those in the other major party vote for him to block the more extreme candidate.