Originally published in the Los Angeles Times, by Seema Mehta
Democratic attorney and activist Sandra Fluke has decided against running for retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman’s congressional seat, instead planning a bid for the state Senate.
“I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families,” Fluke said late Tuesday night. “I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community.”
Fluke became famous in 2012 after radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” when the then-law student testified in Congress in favor of mandatory insurance coverage of contraception.
After graduating from law school, she moved to Los Angeles, passed the California bar exam, has been active in Democratic circles and has spent time working on issues related to the foster-care system and a living wage. Rumors have long circulated that she would eventually run for office.
Fluke said she plans to run for the state Senate seat currently held by Ted Lieu, who is running for Waxman’s congressional seat.
“I believe that the families and communities of this district -- from West Hollywood to West L.A. and from Santa Monica to Torrance and beyond -- deserve to have a fresh perspective from a new generation of progressive leadership in Sacramento, and I am eager to get to work fighting for the causes that matter most to our future as a community, state and nation," Fluke said.
Fluke’s decision not to seek the congressional seat immediately alters the contours of that race. In addition to Lieu, the other Democrat in the race for Waxman's seat is former city controller Wendy Greuel. Political strategists had questioned whether Fluke and Greuel would attract the same set of voters.
In an interview, Fluke said such political considerations played no part in her decision, which she said was solely based on a belief that she would be able to accomplish more in the Legislature than in Congress.