So why is an election for State Insurance Commissioner unusually interesting? In this election cycle, there is a Democratic incumbent being challenged by another well-funded Democrat elected official. In recent years, Democratic incumbents have been able to discourage serious challengers, making for some dull election discussions around the water cooler.
This year is different for one statewide race – IC. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is trying to hold on to his seat, while Assemblymember Marc Levine mounts a significant challenge. Lara has most of the Democratic establishment endorsing him along with Labor. Levine has few incumbent elected officials supporting him, but he has a significant number of newspaper editorial board endorsements.
The campaign funds also appear to be lopsided, but there is still a month to go. There are two Independent Expenditure committees spending just over $20,000 to support Lara so far.
There is a third funded candidate, Eugene Allen, who has loaned his campaign $300,000, but does not seem to be running a significant campaign.
The numbers below represent data from the latest campaign finance reporting period: 1/1/22 – 4/23/22.
Contributions – $301,776
Expenditures – $263,669
Cash on Hand – $235,539
Allen has loaned himself $300,000. Expenditures are for mailings, consultants and various smaller campaign expenses.
Contributions – $128,621
Expenditures – $432,227
Cash on Hand – $299,894
Lara’s expenditures are for mailings,consultants, and various minor expenses. Most of the donations are from labor unions, attorneys, and elected officials’ PACs.
Contributions – $43,389
Expenditures – $218,022
Cash on Hand – $1,591,208
Donations are mostly from labor, individuals and companies. Expenditures are for polling, literature, consultants, and miscellaneous campaign expenses. Levin also has a 2022 Assembly campaign committee with $100,000 cash on hand.