LOS ANGELES, California — Sandra Fluke, the feminist icon who rose to national prominence after being called a “slut” by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, and after urging that Obamacare require religious institutions to cover abortion and birth control, has failed in her effort to win a seat in the California State Senate.
Fluke was defeated soundly by fellow Democrat Ben Allen, a school official who dominated local endorsements. Early returns showed Fluke losing by a 2-to-1 margin. (Update: the final tally was 60.8% for Allen and 39.2% for Fluke, with 100% of precincts reporting.)
The race to fill the 26th district seat being vacated by incumbent Democrat Ted Lieu had been down to the wire, with both Fluke and Allen–who won the primary in June–raising well over $1 million each.
Local Republican-turned-independent businessman Bill Bloomfield backed Allen with large independent expenditures, including mass mailings to Republican voters in the district that urged a vote for Allen without identifying his political party.
Fluke had briefly considered running for the 33rd congressional district seat left open by veteran Democrat Henry Waxman’s retirement, but was talked out of it by party elders who urged her to aim for more modest political goals.
Fluke’s national profile helped her raise money but could not substitute for the deep roots enjoyed by Allen, who grew up in the area and had cultivated extensive relationships among party activists.
Though the race for the 26th district seat came down to two Democrats under California’s “jungle primary” system, and will not affect the balance of power in California, it is significant for symbolic reasons, and may mark the end of what had been Fluke’s meteoric political career.
For Fluke to lose in a conservative or swing district would have cemented her trailblazing image. To lose in the liberal haven of West L.A. is a harsh verdict.
Adelle Nazarian contributed to this article.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak