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San Diego, CA.- This November, California voters have an opportunity to do something they've never done before, elect an independent to statewide office.
The race for insurance commissioner is between NPP candidate Steve Poizner and Democrat Ricardo Lara.
Poizner won the June Primary, becoming the first NPP to win a statewide California primary in more than a century. (California is a top-two open primary state which means the top two finishers from the June Primary square off in November.)
The Experience Factor
Steve Poizner's name is likely familiar to Californians, he served one term as the state insurance commissioner before running for governor in 2010.
Poizner says he's running as an independent to "show would-be public servants who are turned off by the political climate in this state that there is a nonpartisan path to office."
The common denominator in those endorsements: experience.
The LA Times writes, "What Lara lacks is one of the main things Poizner brings to the table: years of experience dealing with the often complex issues that arise in the roughly $300-billion insurance market that the commissioner oversees. (California is one of the five largest insurance markets in the world.) In fact, Lara didn’t join the Senate committee that handles insurance issues until a year after he announced his plan to run for commissioner in March 2017."
Lara Has Endorsements
Democrat Ricardo Lara is a soon-to-be-termed-out state senator from Los Angeles. He has been highly visible in the Sacramento Legislature.
He’s been an activist in the Sanctuary State movement to protect non-criminal illegal immigrants from deportation.
He authored a new law prohibiting insurance companies from cancelling or failing to renew homeowner policies in fire areas and their immediate surroundings for one year after a state of emergency is declared.
And Lara introduced a bill that would have allowed non-citizens to elected state boards and commissions. Governor Jerry Brown vetoed that legislation.
For Lara, Democrats have such a large voter registration plurality with more than 44 percent of all registered voters that it would take a remarkable candidate to break their stranglehold on statewide offices.
Outcome "Extremely Important"
The race is garnering national attention because of its significance.
For those who crave a more representative government, a "voter centric" system as opposed to a "party centric" system, this race is critical for those views.
This concept was raised in an Editorial published by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Former California State Senator Steve Peace joined IVN Beyond The Headlines to talk about the race and said, "For those of us interested in reducing the harshness of our political confrontations, this race in California is critical."
Peace says the issue for Poizner is overcoming the "wasted vote" theory. "Independent voters," Peace noted, "even when they like a candidate, and even if that candidate can garner a significant amount of funding, they worry about wasting their vote, and they're conditioned to believe that a person who doesn't have a D or an R after their name is unlikely to win they have to overcome the presumption that voting for an independent is a wasted vote."
Current polling has Poizner leading Lara anywhere from 3-7 points.