Last weekend at the California Democratic Convention, single-payer health care won a big victory in the sizable votes for Ricardo Lara, Kevin de Leon, and Delaine Eastin.
Ricardo Lara, who wrote California's single-payer bill (SB 562), easily won the California Insurance Commissioner endorsement of California Democrats. The minimum delegate vote required for endorsement was 60%. Lara received well over that margin with 68%. Lara is also the choice of youth rights supporters, having successfully written and secured passage of legislation to regulate teen behavioral modification programs that have frequently resulted in teen deaths. Two teens died at nearly the same time in such programs in California, which prompted Lara to write this legislation that fights to protect America's youth.
Kevin de Leon, President Pro Tem of the California Senate, which passed SB 562 before it was blocked by Anthony Rendon in the California Assembly, soundly defeated anti-single-payer incumbent candidate Dianne Feinstein, 54% to 37% in the race for Democratic support for Feinstein's Senate seat. Though the percentage required for endorsement was 60%, this represented a significant victory for de Leon. 63% opposed endorsing Feinstein when the votes for de Leon, Pat Harris, and no endorsement were added together. This demonstrated strong opposition to Feinstein and her policies. Feinstein's husband's history as a defense contractor bothers a lot of progressives.
Delaine Eastin, the only gubernatorial candidate to support SB 562, won a surprising 20% in a four-way race. Eastin, a former California Superintendent of Education, has been out of politics for some time. Many expected her to do poorly, because she lacks name recognition. Fourth place candidate former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa received only 9% of the vote, less than half of Eastin's total. Villaraigosa has significant name recognition and has been polling in second place. The top winners were Gavin Newsom at 39% and John Chiang at 30%. Newsom and Chiang are current statewide officers (Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer, respectively) with strong name recognition; their percentages were no surprise, at approximately a month before the end of the filing period for the position. Chiang has been receiving the largest percentage of statewide votes among executive officials in the recent statewide general elections.
At the Governor's debate on February 22, 2018, Delaine Eastin received the two most applause of the night. One was for her support for SB 562 (single-payer) and the other for her opposition to fracking. Because of her populist positions on issues from abolishing the death penalty to protecting the environment to supporting single-payer, the members of the Progressive Caucus have lined up behind Eastin. Whether she is successful or not, single-payer and ending fracking in California will play prominent roles in the Gubernatorial election.