That's the result of California voters approving Proposition 14 in 2010, which took away the requirement to cast ballots only along party lines in primary elections.
In the race for State Senate, Democrats Jerry Hill and Sally Lieber are competing in the newly redrawn District 13. As the top two vote-getters in the June primary, they qualified to vie for the office in November. Both are experienced legislators, with years spent in the State Assembly.
The Assembly race, for newly redrawn District 24, is more traditional with incumbent Democrat Rich Gordon challenged by Republican Chengzhi "George" Yang, a software engineer. District 24 now covers Sunnyvale north to Woodside, plus much of the San Mateo County coastside.
While there are plenty of state propositions to ponder, the city of Palo Alto has only one measure on the ballot, whether or not to allow three medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.