Top-Two Primary Brings Political Newcomer Back to Washington

Updated
The freshmen class of House members of the upcoming 112th Congress, pose for a group photo on the steps that lead to the House of Representatives, on Capitol...
The freshmen class of House members of the upcoming 112th Congress, pose for a group photo on the steps that lead to the House of Representatives, on Capitol...
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Four members of the House’s freshman class were born in the 1980s: Joseph Kennedy III, D-Mass.-04, Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.-18, Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii-02, and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.-15, who defeated 20-term Congressman Pete Stark in November to win his Bay area seat.

Swalwell wasn’t alive when Pete Stark was first elected to the House. The entire Democratic establishment, including President Obama, California’s two senators, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Bay Area congressional delegation, and the state party, lined up behind Stark. But, thanks to California’s new “jungle primary” system—in which the top two candidates compete regardless of party—Swalwell beat the 80-year-old lawmaker.

Now Swalwell has returned to Washington where he first served as an intern for former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher 11 years ago.

Chuck Todd talked to Swalwell on “The Daily Rundown” about whether California’s unusual blanket primary system is a model for the nation, and a cure for partisan gridlock.

Top-Two Primary Brings Political Newcomer Back to Washington

Updated