It’s down to the wire in one of the nation’s most competitive state Senate races as Ben Allen and Sandra Fluke prepare to duke it out one last time in Tuesday’s midterm election.
Both candidates are Democrats vying for Senator Ted Lieu’s seat (D-Torrance). Lieu is running against Republican Elan Carr, a criminal gang prosecutor, for outgoing Congressman Henry Waxman’s seat in California’s 33rd congressional district. Both Lieu and Carr are war veterans.
Perhaps the two biggest differences between the Allen and Fluke races is that Fluke has been riding on the laurels of a stronger national profile after a brief spat with conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh over birth control. She has referred to herself as a “refugee here in Los Angeles,” having moved to the area just seven years ago.
Ben Allen, alternatively, has championed strong local support throughout the community. He is a California native and president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education.
Fluke expresses an overt disdain for conservatives. At a recent community forum, she told the audience that, while the community she lives in “has a lot of [liberal] values I agree with,” she “unfortunately was raised in a conservative community.” Fluke also took several direct jabs at Allen, who has taken a more positive approach in his own campaign.
“I’m proud of the fact that I haven’t attacked my opponent and have been 100 percent positive in my campaign’s public messaging,” Allen wrote in an op-ed published in the Santa Monica Mirror over the weekend. Regarding campaign financing, Allen acknowledged that “It is expensive to run for office, and both Sandra and I have been successful at fundraising, but my agenda has always been, and will always continue to be, improving quality of life in this community that I grew up in, where my family is, and which I love.”
Both candidates are united in their shared interest in taking down Citizens United, a conservative PAC and the name of a Supreme Court case concerning First Amendment rights. The landmark case gave corporations and unions the green light to spend as much as they wanted to promote an individual political candidate.
In the Santa Monica Mirror op-ed, Fluke attacked Allen, saying “my opponent has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of conservative direct donations.” Fluke was referring to Manhattan Beach Republican-turned-Independent Bill Bloomfield, who contributed a large sum of money to Allen. “There has been one substantial independent expenditure sending out pieces of mail that are supportive of me. I don’t have any control over it. It has been almost entirely very positive,” Allen said in reference to the support.
Fluke stated that “the only Independent Expenditure supporting me has come from the local Planned Parenthood for $26,804.11.”
Whichever candidate wins on Tuesday, California’s 26th Senate district is looking at two very different styles of leadership.