Three days after the Associated Press called the race for him as State Insurance Commissioner, Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara claimed victory.
Lara’s opponent, Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner, also conceded the race Monday.
Lara’s victory is historic because he is California’s first openly gay statewide officeholder.
“I am grateful for the support of California voters who deserve a strong consumer advocate,” Lara said in a statement Monday. “Helping communities recover from wildfires while preparing for the threat of climate change will be my first job as Insurance Commissioner. As communities are rocked by devastating wildfires, Californians need a healthy, honest insurance market that allows them to quickly rebuild their lives and protects against future disasters.”
Lara received 52 percent with more than 5.7 million votes compared to Poizner’s 48 percent with 5.2 million votes, according to totals released by the Secretary of State’s office.
Lara also made history in 2012 when he became the first openly gay person of color elected to the California Senate.
As California Insurance Commissioner, Lara will be responsible for an agency, the California Insurance Department, with far reaching power. The department enforces insurance laws and licenses, regulates companies, and investigates fraud.
Lara will replace Commissioner Dave Jones, who is termed out of office, in January.