After primary elections on Tuesday, Democrat Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12) will face Democrat Ben Allen in a run-off in the November general election for Ted Lieu’s (LAW ’94) vacated seat in the 26th District of the California State Senate.
An attorney and activist for women’s reproductive rights, Fluke, 33, attracted media attention in February 2012 when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” for her advocacy of contraceptive coverage. She continued to fight for women’s rights, notably for equal pay between genders and increased access to contraception, in a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Among the eight candidates, Fluke earned 19.7 percent of the vote, second to Allen, an attorney with Richardson & Patel LLP and a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education, who earned 21.8 percent of the vote. In the California primary system, the top two vote-getters automatically advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. For a large portion of Tuesday night, Fluke and independent candidate Seth Stodder closely vied for the second spot, before Stodder finished third with 17.5 percent of the vote.
“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,” Fluke said in a statement released Wednesday. “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.”
College Democrats Chair Chandini Jha (COL ’16) voiced her support for Fluke’s campaign, noting her achievements as a young woman in politics.
“Honestly I think it’s a testament to the fact that she ran a good campaign. I think that obviously she had the highest name brand recognition nationally, and that kind of did help translate to results in California,” Jha said. “So I’m pretty excited. It’s not easy for young women to run for office so it’s really heartening to see, I think.”
Jordan Klein, a resident of Beverly Hills, which falls within the district, and a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, agreed.
“I voted for Sandra because she has demonstrated the toughness to stand up to Rush Limbaugh and others currently waging a war on women and their reproductive rights,” Klein said.
In her statement, Fluke emphasized a commitment to her supporters.
“I am immensely proud of my campaign. I want to start by thanking the grassroots supporters who stood with me,” Fluke said. “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.”
A result of state redistricting, the 26th District will come into effect after the general election. Its boundaries currently correspond to that of Lieu’s 28th District, whose population currently exceeds 875,000.
Lieu, a former editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal, came second in the primary to replace United States Representative Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) in California’s 33rd Congressional District. Lieu will face Republican Elan Carr in the general election.