California Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, edged into second place in the state insurance commissioner’s race on Monday, taking a 4,481-vote lead over Republican Robert Howell as votes continue to be counted following the June 7 primary. The two are vying to challenge incumbent Democrat Ricardo Lara in November.
As of Monday around 6 p.m., Levine had 1,130,867 votes (18.0%) to 1,126,386 (18.0%) for Howell, according to tallies posted on the California Secretary of State’s website. Lara led with 2,273,743 votes (36.2%). Elections officials still have 24 days to certify the results of the balloting. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the runoff.
An estimated 595,717 ballots remain unprocessed statewide, according
to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Levine had been trailing Howell, a cybersecurity equipment manufacturer, by more than 20,000 votes last week, but the gap narrowed Monday morning to less than 2,000 ballots. Howell led in many far Northern California counties, while Levine showed strong support in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Lara had strong support across Southern California and in San Francisco.
Levine had been aggressive in questioning Lara’s stewardship, particularly that he is not doing enough for homeowners in wildfire areas, another crucial part of the insurance commissioner’s role in this state
Levine, whose campaign promises included barring companies from taking customers’ education and occupation into account when pricing auto insurance coverages, had media endorsements from the editorial boards of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and the Sacramento Bee.
Lara, meanwhile, had endorsements from the California Nurses Association, the California Democratic Party, California Environmental Voters, and Gov. Gavin Newsom.