When considering the selection of an insurance commissioner, why not vote for somebody that knows about insurance laws and regulations rather than a politician? The race for California’s Insurance Commissioner had a stunning result demonstrating that the Republican electorate might make such a selection. Brian FitzGerald, an insurance enforcement attorney in the California Department of Insurance with virtually no political campaign other than a Facebook website holds a small lead for the Republican nomination for California’s insurance commissioner.

InsuranceNewsNet noted the following about the race:

With 100% of precincts reporting, insurance department enforcement attorney Brian FitzGerald is holding a 11,204-vote lead, a margin of 0.8%, over Assemblyman Mike Villines. FitzGerald, whose campaign consisted primarily of a blog and Facebook page, spent less than $5,000 on his campaign. Villines, a three-term legislator, spent $228,710 as of May 22, according to state campaign finance reports.

Indeed, FitzGerald has noted the following expenses:

Since there are those so astonished that a person can actually run for office in California and NOT spend $10 Millions and as I have not spent the amount requiring a FPPC filing, here is my approximate campaign accounting:

Secretary of State filing fee

Ballot Pamphlet Statement (for those that missed it, it is also listed on this site)
$25 per word x 43 = $1075

One round trip to the LA Times Editorial Board Meeting who declined to endorse me. Trip including airfare and taxi rides:

Grand Total: $4292

His biography points to his insurance experience:

Brian, whose office is in San Francisco, has been with the California Department of Insurance for over 16 years, enforcing the Insurance Code and regulations against companies and agents in hearings. His work requires him to travel around the State and visit the other Department offices where he is known by investigators, examiners, actuaries and analysts who work with him.

The voters apparently did not read The Los Angeles Times editorial, which did not endorse FitzGerald:

On the Republican side, Fitzgerald’s [sic] main pitch seems to be his ability to get more out of the department’s staff, a disappointingly inward focus for such an important policymaking position. We think Villines is the better candidate, in part because of the political courage he showed in helping to end a debilitating stalemate in the budget talks last year. Our biggest complaint about Villines is that he doesn’t seem prepared to be insurance commissioner. If he hopes to challenge Jones or De La Torre in November, he will have to demonstrate a much better grasp of the job he’s seeking.

Assuming FitzGerald wins the final tally of primary votes, the November election will be interesting to see if a non-career politician, but qualified candidate, can show that a bunch of money is not needed to win a statewide office in a major state.