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IBA West "candidates" political action committee, IBAcPac, recorded two recent election successes. In one of the most significant and hard fought election battles in California, former Assemblyman and Chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee, Juan Vargas, won the Democratic nomination for Senate District 40 in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties. Vargas won the primary by only 22 votes over Assemblywoman Mary Salas. More than 48,000 votes were casted, proving that virtually every vote counts in a contested election.
IBA West was one of the most significant contributors to the Vargas campaign. The association made contributions through its own political action committee, the California Chamber of Commerce’s JobsPac, Diversity Pac and the Civil Justice Association PAC.
“The Vargas election is one of the most important elections of the campaign season,” said IBA West Lobbyist John Norwood. “While serving in the Assembly Juan was one of the leaders of the 2004 workers’ comp reform legislation. He was a warrior for IBA West in fighting off workers’ comp rate regulation and labor’s proposal to institute a fee schedule to govern commissions paid to agents and brokers. Finally, Juan is a moderate Democrat who understands insurance issues, having worked for SAFECO, and he will help bring balance to the State Senate on business and insurance issues.”
IBA West also played a significant role in the recent special election to fill the State Senate seat left vacant by the appointment of Senator Abel Maldonado to Lt Governor. IBAcPac supported state Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee over former Democratic Assemblyman John Laird. In addition IBA West contributed financial support to JobsPac, the political action committee for the California Chamber of Commerce who also supported Blakeslee.
“This race was important to keep Senate District 15 in the Republican column so as to at least maintain some balance in the State Senate,” Norwood said. "This is really not about Republican or Democratic, it is about having checks and balances in the system necessary to stop anti-business and insurance bills.”
IBAcPac makes political contributions to candidates for statewide office, State Senate and Assembly and is funded through assessments collected as part of the dues paid by IBA West members. IBAcPac contributes approximately $300,000 annually in the California political process.