David Yates Feb. 14, 2014, 2:16pm

SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) - Referred to as the worst "judicial hellhole" in the U.S. by some groups, California likely won't change the ranking any time soon as Republicans seem to be coming up short in 2014 state races.

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than the race for attorney general - a race that four years ago ended with the current attorney general narrowly defeating her Republican opponent by less than 75,000 votes.

However, Attorney General Kamala Harris, who filed for re-election Wednesday, is to date running unopposed in 2014.

Although a Republican challenger has to March 7 to step forward, Harris already has an advantage over any potential challenger by way of $3 million in contributions tucked away into a war chest, campaign finance records show.

One theory circulating on why prominent California Republicans aren't running this year is the state's freshly implemented open primary system, wherein the top two vote-getters in the primary election advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

A spokesperson for the California Republican Party declined comment on the matter.

Whatever the reason, Republicans only make up 29.3 percent of the state's electorate - meaning Democrats outnumber Republicans by millions in the Golden State, according to the California Secretary of State's office.

When you consider the numbers advantage, "it's not surprising California has more Democrats in office," said Kimberly Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California.

Last Election year, Democrats gained a supermajority control of the California state legislature.

Stone believes the key to changing California's litigious climate is not necessary in electing one specific party, but rather reaching "open minded and fair" individuals to foster change.

"We (CJAC) work very hard with both parties," Stone said. "We need to reach open minded and fair individuals, regardless of political affiliation."

CJAC works aggressively in the state's legislature and courts to reduce the unwarranted and excessive litigation that increases business and government expenses, discourages innovation, and drives up the cost of goods and services for all Californians, the organization's site states.

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com.

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