The Los Angeles News Group called it—endorsing both educator Ben Allen and reproductive rights activist Sandra Fluke in their Daily News and Daily Breeze newspapers to succeed the South Bay State Senate seat being vacated by Ted Lieu. Allen, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, won 21.9% of the vote, becoming the top vote-getter out of eight candidates vying for the open seat.
Fluke, a public interest attorney and West Hollywood resident, came in second with 19.4% of the vote. She and Allen will battle it out in November.
Former Assemblymember and long time LGBT ally Betsy Butler came in fourth with 16.5%, behind independent Seth Stodder who registerd 17.7% of the vote. Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth won15.6%. In his first shot at public office, openly gay Dr. Vito Imbasciani garnered 3,999 votes or 4.4%.
“We are very excited over here,” Allen said in a 1:30 a.m. interview with the Daily Breeze. "It’s an incredible feeling. It is sort of a combination of humility and surprise and gratitude and excitement.”
The Breeze noted (as Frontiers did in our pre-primary analysis) that Allen “was helped by generous independent expenditures from Republican-turned-independent Bill Bloomfield, a wealthy businessman and former congressional candidate. Bloomfield, who said he did not know Allen well, nonetheless spent about $600,000 on Allen’s behalf. A lot of that money went to fund mailers.”
Those mailers and TV campaign ads helped give the little-known Allen name recognition. That was not a problem for the nationally-known Sandra Fluke, who I suggested sounded like a younger version of Elizabeth Warren. In fact, Fluke was an activist before Rush Limbaugh called the then-Georgetown University law student a “slut” – for which he later apologized. For instance, MRC TV (Media Research Center) criticized her with what at times seems as if they are making a breath-taking discovery in an anonymous article entitled Sandra Fluke, Gender Reassignment, and Health Insurance:
However, as I discovered today, birth control is not all that Ms. Fluke believes private health insurance must cover. She also, apparently, believes that it is discrimination deserving of legal action if "gender reassignment" surgeries are not covered by employer provided health insurance. She makes these views clear in an article she co-edited with Karen Hu in the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. The title of the article, which can be purchased in full here, is Employment Discrimination Against LGBTQ Persons and was published in the Journal's 2011 Annual Review. I have posted a transcript of the section I will be quoting from here. In a subsection of the article entitled "Employment Discrimination in Provision of Employment Benefits" starting on page 635 of the review Sandra Fluke and her co-editor describe two forms of discrimination in benefits they believe LGBTQ individuals face in the work place:
"Discrimination typically takes two forms: first, direct discrimination limiting access to benefits specifically needed by LGBTQ persons, and secondly, the unavailability of family-related benefits to LGBTQ families."
Their "prime example" of the first form of discrimination? Not covering sex change operations:
"A prime example of direct discrimination is denying insurance coverage for medical needs of transgender persons physically transitioning to the other gender."
This so called "prime example" of discrimination is expounded on in a subsection titled "Gender Reassignment Medical Services" starting on page 636:
"Transgender persons wishing to undergo the gender reassignment process frequently face heterosexist employer health insurance policies that label the surgery as cosmetic or medically unnecessary and therefore uncovered."
To be clear, the argument here is that employers are engaging in discrimination against their employees who want them to pay for their sex changes because their "heterosexist" health insurance policies don't believe sex changes are medically necessary.
No wonder Fluke was endorsed by Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center.
After voting with her family and winning a top two spot, Fluke released a statement:
"I am immensely proud of my campaign. I want to start by thanking the grassroots supporters who stood with me. We ran a campaign that shows what kind of elected official I will be: one who is accountable to the individuals who voted me into office, not to special interests. I want to thank the more than two thousand individual donors and volunteers who truly fueled this campaign. We had an incredible team.
I also want to acknowledge the other candidates. There were a number of incredibly talented and passionate candidates in this race who deeply care about their communities. I look forward to continuing to work with them to make our neighborhoods better.
Now is the time to turn my focus towards the general election. I'm looking forward to continuing to talk with voters about the issues important to us all: education affordability and access, environmental protection and water conservation, economic security and more. I'm proud the voters know that I will be the kind of progressive leader who isn't afraid to stand up for what is right, and will always fight for them."
Don’t be surprised if you see Fluke walking around West Hollywood.