Sandra Fluke has made it official: she has filed to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) after 40 years.
The birth control advocate who shook up the 2012 presidential campaign does not live in the 33rd district, but is eligible to run for the seat. She will be facing off against local Democratic stalwart Wendy Greuel, who narrowly missed winning the Los Angeles mayor’s race last year, among others.
According to Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, Fluke has not yet filed papers with the Federal Election Commission or made a public announcement, but has filed with the state Democratic Party to seek its endorsement for the seat. Fluke told local public radio station KPCC last week that she had been “strongly considering” a run, and received immediate support from long-time supporter and Democrat adviser Hilary Rosen.
Fluke stirred controversy by fighting to force Georgetown Law School to offer free contraception as part of its insurance coverage for students and faculty, despite the institution’s Catholic principles. She was scheduled to be a witness called by Democrats at a congressional hearing in 2012, but was blocked by Republicans. When conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut”–a remark for which he later apologized–a star was born.
Immediately, Fluke became a national symbol of the Republicans’ so-called “war on women,” and campaigned for President Barack Obama. When pressed, however, she admitted knowing little about the actual low cost of birth control, and eventually enthusiasm faded to the point where she had trouble drawing crowds for rallies.
Today Fluke practices as a “social justice attorney” and has the backing of senior national Democratic figures for the seat.
It is not clear what other views Fluke has that would distinguish her from a crowded field, as numerous local Democratic office-holders weigh their chances in the new, non-partisan “jungle primary” system.
In a 2011 race for the open seat vacated by Jane Harman, the large number of Democrats who entered canceled each other out, leaving a runoff between a Democrat and a Republican. No Republican has yet entered the race for the 33rd.