Dave Jones elected California insurance commissioner
Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) defeated Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis) in the race for state insurance commissioner. The post was one of only two statewide offices held by Republicans heading into election day.
Villines received a $2.2-million boost from the insurance industry, which cut television spots in his favor. Jones had strong backing from state trial lawyers and labor unions. Jones defeated his Assembly colleague Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) in the June primary.
Villines almost lost his primary election against a political unknown, Brian FitzGerald. Many Republicans expressed anger at Villines, a former Assembly Republican leader, for supporting massive tax increases as part of the 2009 budget.
The state insurance commissioner has been an elected office since 1990. It's arguably the most powerful regulator in the state, overseeing the state Department of Insurance and monitoring the actions of the $100-plus billion insurance industry in California. Automobile, homeowners and individual healthcare insurance policies are regulated by the department.
-- Anthony York
Photo credit: Associated Press