Ricardo Lara

Ex-commissioner, state senator advance in insurance race

Former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner moved a step closer to getting his former job back as he and Sen. Ricardo Lara advanced in Tuesday's primary to face each other in the general election in the fall.

With about 2 million votes counted, Poizner, a former Republican, had 44 percent of the vote and Lara, a Democrat, had 38 percent.

Each man would make history in November with Poizner as the first independent to win statewide office in California and Lara the first gay Latino to hold such an office.

Dr. Asif Mahmood, a pulmonologist who was vying to be the first Muslim in statewide office, was a distant third.

Like many Democrats, Lara and Mahmood ran in...