Houston Corporate Bigwig, Bill King Spreads Disinformation about Top Two Primary Systems

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Christina Tobin, Founder and Chair
Phone: 312-320-4101
Email: christina@freeandequal.org
Web: www.freeandequal.org
Houston Corporate Bigwig, Bill King Spreads Disinformation about Top Two Primary Systems
HOUSTON – Houston corporate bigwig Bill King recently wrote an article for the Houston Tribune which repeated much of the disinformation about Top Two primary systems.
King’s first misrepresentation is his claim that third party candidates are unlikely to place first or second in a primary and “would rarely be represented on the November ballot.” King also claims, “… if a third party candidate cannot muster enough votes to come in second in the primary, there would be little chance of that candidate winning in the general election.”
King failed to mention that Jesse Ventura won the general election for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 despite the fact that he only received 3% of the vote in the state’s open primary that year. Again, he failed to mention that Green Party nominee Audie Bock received only 8% in the first round of a blanket primary for a 1999 California legislative race, after which she was permitted to advance to the final round, under more permissive blanket primary rules, and won the election. Phrases such as “little chance” are often used to mislead or distract from the importance of events, such as Ventura’s gubernatorial win, which made headlines nationwide.
Another falsehood mentioned by King is that Top Two systems favor “moderates”. In a comment which the Houston Chronicle declined to publish, elections expert Richard Winger noted that “two political scientists, who have actually studied primary systems and whether it affects polarization and partisanship, concluded that there is no relationship between type of primary system and whether legislators are polarized and partisan. Anyone can Google Boris Shor and Seth Masket and see for themselves.” This follows the California pattern where media outlets refuse to correct false statements regarding Top Two, which they had published.
Opponents of Top Two have repeatedly called attention to such misrepresentations and falsehoods when they appear in the media, yet the talking points continue to be parroted by big business and entrenched political players.
King, a wealthy corporate investor, is one such person. The website for Politicalendar, LLC., one corporation with which King is involved, states, “visitors to the site will typically not be casual or accidental users” but rather “registered lobbyists” and “high net worth individuals.”
Emlogis, on whose advisory board King serves, provides workforce management, particularly in the healthcare industry. King is also invested in Global FBO Holdings, about which little is known, save that it appears to serve the transportation industry, and GBTech, Inc., which was founded to pursue management services for the aerospace industry.
Christina Tobin, Free & Equal founder and chair, noted that health insurance providers were among the top PAC contributors to the campaign to establish Top Two in California, where the true cost to voters is only just being discovered.
“It would behoove Bill King to educate himself regarding the facts surrounding Top Two primaries, before he advocates imposing his vision of ‘workforce management’ on voters by force of law,” Tobin said.
Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the politically marginalized and disenfranchised, particularly those of third party and Independent candidates.