OTHER RACES: Fong Will Meet Boxer, Figueroa Defeats Sweeney
In other election news from around the state, California "Treasurer Matt Fong ... bested millionaire car alarm magnate Darrell Issa" in the race to face incumbent U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D). "Boxer, who faced no significant opposition in the Democratic primary, cruised to an easy victory with support from 44% of voters," the Sacramento Bee reports (Vellinga, 6/3). However, Fong said, "When an incumbent U.S. senator can't get 50% of the vote, it should be a red flag warning." He said, "I'm going to show the voters just how out of touch and liberal Barbara Boxer really is" (Wildermuth/Lynch, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3). The Bee reports that "[t]hroughout the campaign, both Issa and Fong sought to portray Boxer as a liberal out of step with California voters." Abortion will be a particularly divisive issue, the Bee notes. While Fong "said he accepts the legality of first-trimester abortion," he noted that he "opposes late-term abortions and supports requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions." Boxer, "one of the U.S. Senate's strongest backers of abortion rights," said, "I'm the only pro-choice candidate. ... It's very important to have a fighter for choice right now, because the majority of people (in the Senate) are anti-choice" (6/3). Boxer has also been a strong supporter of patients' rights, vowing to bring a patients' rights measure to the Senate floor this year and to introduce a bill that would allow people who pay a portion of employer-sponsored health insurance to deduct the expense on their federal income tax return (See CHL 5/7, 4/2).
State Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), herself a strong supporter of patients' rights, "was leading Michael Sweeney for the Democratic nomination for a vacated state Senate seat in southern Alameda County in election returns late last night," the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Fagan, 6/3). In addition to backing a sweeping patients' rights proposal introduced by state Assembly Democratic leaders, Figueroa has introduced measures to allow patients to sue their HMOs for malpractice and to mandate health plan coverage of reconstructive surgery following mastectomies (click here to read more about Figueroa's record).