Former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, the first statewide no party preference candidate to advance to a general election ballot in California, will square off in the November general election against Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, the first openly gay candidate in a statewide California general election.

Poizner topped the field of four candidates in Tuesday’s primary with 41.2 percent of the vote, while Lara was second with 40.7 percent, according to semi-official results released Wednesday by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Pasadena-area pulmonologist Asif Mahmood, a Democrat, was third with 13 percent. Nathalie Hrizi, a public school teacher and librarian in San Francisco and member of the Peace and Freedom Party, was fourth with 5.1 percent.

There was no Republican candidate on the ballot. Incumbent Dave Jones, a Democrat, was barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

Poizner, the commissioner from 2007-11 who unsuccessfully sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010, changed his registration to no party preference in January.

Lara said he was “extremely proud to be the first openly LGBTQ statewide candidate in a general election in California.”

“As LGBTQ people, we must fight for our place at the table and show the world we have the right to pursue our dreams,” said Lara, a Latino who in 2012 became the first openly gay person of color elected to the California Senate.

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