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More insurance-industry cash to help Villines

I’d reported last week that the insurance industry seems to be buying into the election for state Insurance Commissioner by dumping money into JobsPAC – a political action committee co-chaired by the California Chamber of Commerce – which in turn is running an independent expenditure campaign for Republican nominee Mike Villines and against Democratic nominee Dave Jones.

That spending continued this weekend. JobsPAC on Saturday reported having received:

  • $450,000 from Allstate Insurance Co. on Thursday;
  • $250,000 from Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph on Thursday;
  • $365,000 from Liberty Mutual Group Inc. on Thursday; and
  • $300,000 from Progressive Insurance on Thursday and Friday.
  • The PAC also reported Saturday a $40,125 ad buy in support of Villines, and the same amount for an ad buy against Jones.

    Villines campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Gibbons on Thursday had said the campaign neither has coordinated with JobsPAC nor has any knowledge of their activities or contributors.

    The San Francisco Chronicle, in endorsing Villines at the start of this month, had noted both Villines and Jones have refused to accept industry-related contributions; apparently Villines has no problem, however, accepting industry-funded help so long as it’s coming through an intermediary. (In fairness, and as the Chronicle noted as well, Jones has taken lots of campaign money from attorneys, who often battle insurers in court and so have a vested interest in this race, too.)

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.