Arnold: Vote Yes on 62

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Your reaction to Governor Schwarzenegger's decision today to endorse the open primary initiative, Proposition 62, is likely to be based on whether you think he's a politician outside of traditional party politics... or not.

Prop 62 essentially says that the top vote-getters in a primary election, regardless of party, move on to a one-on-one showdown in the November election.

In my sit-down interview with Schwarzenegger in August, he admitted that he was inclined to support Prop 62 because its core principle seems similar to the structure of the recall ballot-- where, in several cases, more than one party candidate was listed.

But Schwarzenegger's endorsement is a sharp departure from what his own Republican Party wants; the state GOP and Democratic parties are both fighting Prop 62, fearing that it will marginalize parties by giving voters the chance to pick anyone on the ballot they choose.

In a press release announcing the decision, Schwarzenegger said, "both political parties have asked me not to support Proposition 62, the Open Primary Initiative. I didn't come to Sacramento to make the political parties happy. I have come to Sacramento to initiate reform." He also threw his support behind plans to remove the power of drawing legislative districts, from the hands of the Legislature.

Expect to see supporters of Prop 62 making a big deal of the Schwarzenegger endorsement. And as opponents hinted last week, if the measure passes (and the polls indicate it might), don't be surprised if there is legal action filed by the major political parties to stop it from going into effect.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.