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Six Californias? ‘Absolutely madness,’ says this Democrat.

Welcome back to Five Questions!

Today, meet Pete Aguilar, a Democrat running in California's 31st district. The mayor of Redlands finished second in last month's top-two, all-party primary last month, narrowly averting disaster for Democrats for a second straight election.

The 31st is a district Democrats normally should have no business losing: President Obama won 57 percent of the vote there in 2012. But under the new primary system, a Democratic vote split handed the seat to Republicans in 2012 and nearly did it again this year. But Aguilar survived and is favored to defeat Republican Paul Chabot (R) in November.

He stopped by earlier this week to talk about the primary system (he's not a fan), Dodgers baseball (he is a fan), and a plan to split California into six states (he's really not a fan.)

Below is video of the segment and a transcript edited for clarity and brevity.

A California venture capitalist wants to turn California into six separate states. But Pete Aguilar, who's running for Congress in the 31st district says the proposal is "absolutely madness." (Jeff Simon/The Washington Post)
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1. Which California pro sports team will be the next to win a championship?

I'm going to go with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I'm a big Dodger fan. Vacations for me growing up sometimes included my family heading to Dodger Stadium.

2. There's a proposal to split California into six states. Good idea?

No. It's not a good idea. It's absolutely madness. But California has this ballot by initiative system. So with signature gathering at a pretty low level, anybody can put anything on the ballot, unfortunately.

3. Is the all-party primary system a good one?

I'm not a fan of it. But we've only had two elections, so I suppose the jury is still out. It does allow parties to game the system, I suppose, and to pack candidates into different primaries if it's advantageous for them. I like closed primaries.

4. What should Washington do about the influx of children crossing the Southwest border?

We should pass comprehensive immigration reform. The House should take up the Senate bill as an up/down measure. That's the first thing we should do. Obviously, on the humanitarian crisis on the border right now, we need to take action. We need to make sure they have a safe place to be when they are on the U.S. side of the border and we need to give them the health screenings that are necessary. The president's supplemental request is something we need to pass, too.

5. Who is your favorite Republican mayor?

Congressman Paul Cook (R-Calif.). He's a great guy, a decorated war veteran. I worked for the former mayor of Yucca Valley in local government.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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