The League of Women Voters of California and other supporters of the proposition said lawmakers spend too much time raising funds for the leap from one legislative house to the other and need to be allowed more time in one office to master complex issues and the lawmaking process.
Opponents, including term limits activist and former game show host Chuck Woolery, said the initiative was deceptively pitched as a toughening of term limits when, in fact, legislators could camp longer in one seat.
Holding onto one of California's 53 congressional seats also proved to be tougher than at any other time in a decade, thanks to political boundaries drawn by a panel of citizens instead of politicians or the courts. Longtime incumbents found themselves vying for votes in unfamiliar territory or in districts merged with those of other House members.
Redistricting squeezed Republican Rep. Gary Miller of Diamond Bar out of his old seat, setting up a fierce GOP clash between him and state Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga for a district in San Bernardino County. In early returns, both Miller and Dutton were leading Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, in the race to clinch the top two spots.
Democrats hold a five percentage point advantage in registered voters over the GOP in that district, one of several California seats that Washington Democrats say is critical to their efforts to recapture the House this year.
In Ventura County, Democratic state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Oak Park edged out independent candidate Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks to win a place on the November ballot against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland of Moorpark for a House seat.
The newly drawn Ventura County congressional district, formerly viewed as friendly to Republicans, now is one of several "swing" districts that could be won by either party. Registration in the 26th Congressional District is 41% Democratic, 35% Republican and 19% unaffiliated with any party.
In other closely monitored races:
-- In the Central Valley, Republican Rep. Jeff Denham will face off against former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez, a Democrat, in the race for a newly drawn congressional district this fall.
Although the 10th Congressional District leans Republican because of its conservative voting patterns, Democrats enjoy a small registration edge. There was no incumbent House member living within the district until Denham changed residences to seek reelection there.
-- Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), whom Republican leaders in Washington consider vulnerable, will go up against former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria in the November election in a new congressional district along the Central Coast.
A serious reelection challenge to Capps was almost assured after an independent commission last summer redrew her district, which was once Democrat-friendly but was also derided as the "ribbon of shame" for its blatantly gerrymandered shape along the coast.
Maldonado, a former state senator who angered members of his own party by voting in 2009 to raise taxes to help erase a state budget deficit, had the backing of Republican leaders for the congressional race.
-- In a free-for-all contest for one of California's biggest congressional districts — which includes the San Bernardino County mountains and deserts, along with Inyo and Mono counties — Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) was leading the pack of 13 contenders, the largest scrum of congressional hopefuls in the state. The second spot remained a toss-up.
Times staff writers Jessica Garrison, Jeff Gottlieb, Angel Jennings, Maria LaGanga, Catherine Saillant, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stevens contributed to this report.