Sandra Fluke, Feminist Made Famous by Rush Limbaugh, Loses Badly in Bid for State Senate

Sandra Fluke
Sandra Fluke
Photo by Ted Soqui

It was a rough night for Democrats, and here in L.A., there's one more disappointment for national Democratic activists. Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who rose to fame when Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, was trounced in her bid for California state senate.

Ben Allen, a Democrat who serves on the Santa Monica-Malibu school board, beat Fluke 60.8 precent to 39.2 percent in semi-official results. As of 1 a.m., Allen still had not officially claimed victory, though the county Democratic Party had congratulated him on the win.

In 2012, Fluke became a symbol of the "War on Women," after Rush Limbaugh lambasted her as a "slut" and a "prostitute" for testifying to Congress in favor of contraceptive coverage. The controversy made her a political celebrity, and she ended up campaigning for President Obama and speaking in prime time at the Democratic National Convention.

See also: Sandra Fluke Endured Rush Limbaugh's Attacks. Now She Wants a Seat in the California Senate

But in her race for state Senate, women's issues took a back seat to issues like jobs, the environment and education. Allen did not disagree with her on contraception — or on almost anything else — but he did have deeper roots in Los Angeles politics.

Fluke is originally from Pennsylvania, and has only been active in L.A. politics for two years. She had never before run for office. Allen grew up in Santa Monica and served for six years as a school board member. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized his local roots as the defining difference between himself and Fluke. He also won the vast majority of local endorsements.

"She is completely new. It kind of looks like she parachuted in," former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane told the Weekly in September. "She might share our values, but we don't know her."

Fluke was able to raise more than $1.2 million, much of it in small donations from out of state. But Allen also raised $1.1 million, and had the benefit of an additional $1.3 million in independent spending from Bill Bloomfield, a retired businessman.

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