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Insurance Commissioner

October 10, 2010 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
Voter attention invariably gravitates toward the top of the ticket and the glamorous job of governor ? the heated battle between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown in which the winner will be charged with steering California's ship of the state for the next four years. But who will be the crew at the captain's side? The winners of the other seven statewide offices will also hold great sway over California's future, enforcing laws, keeping the state solvent ? no easy task these days ?
October 7, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
For the second time in a month, a California Chamber of Commerce political action committee funded in part by major insurance companies is bankrolling TV ads to help Republican Mike Villines in his race against Democrat Dave Jones for state insurance commissioner. In campaign finance disclosure documents, the deep-pocketed chamber reported that it was spending $280,234 to fund "media production" for television advertisements that oppose Jones. The same report showed that the chamber's political action committee, called JobsPAC, received six contributions from insurance company interests totaling $387,000.
October 7, 2010
The race for the office of insurance commissioner pits Assemblyman Dave Jones (D- Sacramento), a prolific legislator who has clashed often with insurers, against Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis), a former GOP leader who positions himself as a more conciliatory force. Just as important as the contrast in styles, though, is the difference in their expertise. Jones, who's been chairman of the Assembly's health and judiciary committees, demonstrates a much better grasp of the details and complexities of insurance regulation.
July 18, 2010 | By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times
After a month of ballot counting, Assemblyman Michael Villines of Clovis eked out a victory in the Republican primary for Insurance Commissioner, defeating his little-known opponent, insurance department lawyer Brian FitzGerald, by 16,346 votes. Villines' primary race was perhaps most remarkable for his weak showing against a virtual unknown. Even FitzGerald, a Napa attorney who has worked at the insurance department for 16 years, joked about his low visibility before the primary — calling himself "Fitz the obscure" and explaining why he was running in his "Mani-fitz-o" on his blog.
June 14, 2010 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
Sacramento Republican Brian D. FitzGerald can tick off each of his campaign expenses from memory. There are only three: a $2,800 filing fee to run for California insurance commissioner, $1,075 for a 43-word statement in the official California voter guide and a $350 round-trip Southwest Airlines ticket from the Bay Area to Los Angeles for an endorsement meeting with this news organization's editorial board. FitzGerald, 53, did not get The Times' endorsement. He has, however, received the most votes so far in the GOP primary.
June 10, 2010 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
Californians' anger at Sacramento appears to have claimed some political victims in Tuesday's primary election. Former Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines could be headed toward defeat in his bid for insurance commissioner at the hands of a political unknown who spent less than $5,000. And in the race for state schools chief, Larry Aceves, a retired superintendent, bested two sitting legislators with more than a decade of experience, knocking veteran state Sen. Gloria Romero (D- Los Angeles)
May 31, 2010 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
Facing new poll results that show Meg Whitman with a 24-point lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary, rival Steve Poizner on Monday slammed the former EBay chief, saying she has tried to buy the nomination by spending an "obscene amount of money." "When people really sit down to fill out their ballots or go into the election booth, I think they're going to be disturbed by the fact she hasn't voted for 28 years straight, and then all of a sudden she spends $90 million, four times more than anyone's ever spent ever in the history of Republican primaries in gubernatorial politics — four times more than me," Poizner said in an interview after speaking at a Memorial Day observance in Rancho Palos Verdes.
May 26, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
California's elected insurance commissioner — one of the most powerful jobs of its kind in the nation — is likely to get even more authority over the next four years as President Obama's new healthcare law takes effect. The prospect of broad new powers has drawn four major-party candidates seeking their parties' nominations in the June 8 primary election: Democrats Hector De La Torre and Dave Jones, and Republicans Brian D. Fitzgerald and Mike Villines. The top vote-getters in each primary will face off, along with four minor party candidates, in the November general election.
May 14, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Nearly 300 insurance companies licensed to do business in California have refused to comply with a state regulator's request that they stop making new investments in corporations engaged in energy or defense-related work in Iran. The insurers, including more than a dozen major firms such as State Farm, Geico and Prudential, are questioning the authority of state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to impose sanctions. By contrast, Poizner said, 1,010 other insurance companies said they would comply.
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