Garamendi Captures Calif. Commissioner Position

By | November 6, 2002

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, California’s first-elected Insurance Commissioner is headed back to the office he first occupied in 1991.

Democrat John Garamendi garnered 47 percent of the vote (2,946,348) to 42 percent of the vote for Republican challenger Gary Mendoza (2,628,264). Green Party candidate David Sheidlower looked to capture third place with four percent (243,186) of the vote.

Garamendi, who has stated that he would rebuild and restore integrity to the Insurance Department following the departure of his successor, Republican Chuck Quackenbush, will take over for Harry Low, who elected not to run for the position. Low became Insurance Commissioner following Quackenbush’s departure.

Lee Fink, press liaison for Garamendi, told Insurance Journal, “I think the key to victory was John Garamendi’s record in public service. We overcame $4 million of negative ads in the primary, a-million-and-a-half of money targeted by the Republican Party who made John Garamendi the target.”

When asked if those who voted for Garamendi may have had past disagreements with him, but voted for someone they were a little more familiar with, Fink said it would be a fair assessment. “We all know the problems in the insurance market,” Fink said. “They know John Garamendi has been there and has the experience and knowledge to run the office, so I think that gave him the benefit of the doubt. John knows he has a lot to tackle.”

Editor’s note: According to numbers released Wednesday, these are the final results with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.
John Garamendi 2,975,544 – 46 percent; Gary Mendoza 2,657,018 – 41 percent.

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