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IRV backer wins key California GOP primary while Montana GOP experiences bizarre plurality result

by Rob Richie // Published June 9, 2008
June 3rd primaries included key U.S. Senate and U.S. House primaries in California, Montana and New Jersey. In a six-way race in Montana's Republican U.S. Senate primary to face off against Democratic incumbent Max Baucus, Bob Kelleher, an 85-year-old perennial candidate who has run as a Green and a Democrat, received 36.3 percent of the vote to win. He is seen as more liberal than Baucus. See more on the election results here.

Maybe Montana Republicans are happy with this result. But nearly two-thirds voted for other candidates. If they want to ensure nominees reflect their majority views, they should take a look at instant runoff voting. One Republican ready to take that look is Tom McClintock, a state senator who on June 3rd won a hotly contested primary for a Republican-leanning open seat. Last year Sen. McClintock voted for a bill to allow more localities to used ranked voting systems and apparently grew interested in IRV during his run for governor in the recall election ultimately won by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Meanwhile, another IRV advocate, Congressman Robert Andrews, lost his bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey. The big wins for IRV advocates this year of course have been in the presidential race: both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have been active backers of instant runoff voting.