Democrat Lara Leads Poizner in California Insurance Commissioner Race

November 7, 2018 by

Democrat Ricardo Lara was leading Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner in the race for California Insurance Commissioner.

Lara had 50.8 percent of the vote, leading by 105,733 votes, with 95.7 percent of precincts reporting.

The winner of the race will replace Dave Jones, a Democrat who served the maximum two terms and made an unsuccessful run in June for attorney general.

Other statewide offices that were decided included the race for governor.

Democrat Gavin Newsom had 59.4 percent of the vote, defeating Republican candidate John Cox with 40.6 percent of the vote. Democrat Ed Hernandez lost to fellow Democrat Eleni Kounalakis in the race for Lt. governor. Hernandez had 44.3 percent of the vote and Kounalakis had 55.7 percent of the vote.

In one of the state’s most watched races, Democrat Kevin De Leon lost to long-serving incumbent Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein. De Leon had 45.6 percent of the vote while Feinstein had 54.4 percent of the vote.

Poizner, the former insurance commissioner, would have been the first independent to win such an election and Lara would be the first openly gay statewide officer holder.

In the June primary Poizner, a former Republican, had 43 percent of the vote. Lara, a Democrat, had 39 percent in the primary race.

A number of candidates were in the race before Lara and Poizner ran away with the primary.

Dr. Asif Mahmood, a pulmonologist who was vying to be the first Muslim in statewide office, was a distant third in the primary. Nathalie Hrizi, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate, got about 5 percent of the vote, the same result as when she ran for the office in 2014.

Like many Democrats, Lara ran in support of universal healthcare, which Poizner opposes.

Poizner had said he would focus on making sure homeowners have adequate protection against wildfires and other natural disasters. He promised a crackdown on insurance fraud and wants to develop better insurance policies against cybercrime.

A dozen propositions were on the state ballot.

A bond to fund veteran and affordable housing, Proposition 1, passed with 54.1 percent of the vote. A bond for water and environmental projects, Proposition 3, garnered only 47.6 percent of the vote.

Proposition 6, to repeal a fuel tax previously approved by voters to pay for safety and infrastructure projects, failed with 58.1 percent of voters against the measure.