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Newcomers win insurance posts in two states


Voters in California and Florida selected newcomers to head their states' industry regulatory offices, while incumbents in three states were selected to remain at their posts.

Election results showed close races for California and Florida, which have the nation's first- and third-largest insurance departments, respectively. In California, 50.6 % of voters selected Republican Steve Poizner as insurance commissioner in his defeat of Democrat Cruz Bustamante. In Florida, Democrat Alex Sink won the seat as the state's chief financial officer with 53.5 % of the votes in her defeat of Republican Tom Lee.

In three other states that also held elections for top insurance posts, incumbents were reelected.

In Georgia, three-term Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, a Republican, will remain at his post for another four-year term. Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Republican, won her second term.

In Oklahoma, Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, a Democrat, won her first elected term, after being appointed to the post in early 2005 when then-commissioner Carroll Fisher resigned after being impeached on corruption charges.

Turnover in other states with appointed insurance commissioners is a possibility with new governors in place.