California's new "top-two" primary election will be put to its first widespread test Tuesday, when state voters will be free to select candidates for Congress and the statehouse regardless of political party.
The new primary sends the two candidates who receive the most votes to November's general election, opening the door for independent candidates and same-party slugfests.
In past years, incumbents enjoyed a firm advantage. But Tuesday's election will have one of the largest batches of competitive races in decades for the Legislature and Congress. The scramble comes after California's voting districts were redrawn, opening up new seats and pitting incumbents against one another.
Traditional party primary ballots will remain in the presidential race and for the election of county party leaders. So when voters go to the polls, they still will be asked for their party affiliation.