Sandra Fluke has announced plans to run for California State Senate opting not to battle for the Congressional seat of Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA 33rd District) after he retires this year.

Fluke, a women’s rights activist and attorney, announced her decision Tuesday, Feb. 4 after having filed papers suggesting she would run for Rep. Waxman’s seat. She will instead run for California Legislature in the 26th District.

““I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families. I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community,” Fluke explained in her statement.

Sandra Fluke Demonized By Rush Limbaugh

Fluke became known nationwide in 2012 when she was asked by the Democratic minority to act as witness during the Committee on Women’s Health and Contraception hearing discussing law that would make it mandatory that health care insurance covers contraception, including religious nonprofit institutions. The Republican committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa banned Fluke from testifying alongside the all-male panel of religious leaders the Republican committee had assembled. Following the highly criticized hearing, Fluke was invited by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to present the testimony she had prepared to a separate committee.

In her testimony, Fluke spoke of her experience as a previous president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice and third year law student at Georgetown University. Immediately following her testimony, Fluke fell pray to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who criticized her on his show and called her a slut who wanted to be paid to have sex. Limbaugh’s words heightened Fluke’s profile, making her a household name.

Since then, Fluke has remained in the public eye, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and appearing at many Democratic fundraisers. She graduated law school and moved to Southern California, where she passed the bar exam and has been focusing on issues of public interest, including LGBTQ rights and economic justice, according to her website. Fluke also works to help victims of human trafficking.

“I believe that the families and communities of this district – from West Hollywood to West L.A. and from Santa Monica to Torrance and beyond – deserve to have a fresh perspective from a new generation of progressive leadership in Sacramento, and I am eager to get to work fighting for the causes that matter most to our future as a community, state and nation,” Fluke said.

Maine GOP Attacks Fluke

Fluke’s announcement has already drawn criticism from Republicans, mainly the Maine GOP, which shared a photo from The Patriot Post on their official Facebook page dismissing Fluke. The post featured a meme of Fluke, with the words, “Can’t afford birth control / Paid $1740 filing fee to run for Congress.”

The post has since been deleted, but the original photo from The Patriot Post remains.

Maine GOP Chair Richard Bennett apologized for the post in a statement, saying, “I personally considered the post offensive, and I deplored accompanying comments that were deriding and demeaning to Ms. Fluke… As Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, I apologize for this offensive material, and assure you that it was not sanctioned by me or the leadership of the Maine Republican Party.”

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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