SACRAMENTO — Tech entrepreneur and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner announced Monday he's running to take back his old seat as California's top insurance regulator.
This time, though, Poizner is running as an independent and not a Republican, the party he represented when he held the post from 2007 to 2011. Poizner served just one term as insurance commissioner and failed to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination for governor in 2010.
The insurance commissioner oversees health, disaster and other insurance markets and can conduct fraud investigations. Poizner is joining a race that also includes state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Asif Mahmood, a Los Angeles doctor, both Democrats.
The top two candidates in the June primary will advance to the general election regardless of party — or lack thereof.
Poizner, 61, told the Associated Press he dropped the party label because he's always believed insurance commissioner should be a non-partisan post, a position he articulated in his successful 2006 campaign. No independents have won statewide office since California eliminated the traditional two-party primary system in 2010.
"I know this is a difficult path but I'm also quite excited about being a pioneer here," Poizner said.
He's running on a platform of tackling under insurance for natural disasters, cracking down on health insurance fraud and boosting insurance against cybercrime.
Poizner has launched several successful startups, including a business that implemented GPS tracking in cell phones. He now leads a non-profit aimed at bringing venture capital dollars to Southern California.