Politics

Why is CrossFit CEO All In on California House Race?

A rift with candidate prompts Greg Glassman to rally against him

Greg Glassman tells a group of CrossFit devotees in the 44th District why he has problems with House candidate Isadore Hall. (CrossFit via YouTube)

Why would CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman max out his individual contribution in the race to replace outgoing California Rep. Janice Hahn?

Soda.

Glassman is supporting Democrat Nanette Barragan, a Hermosa Beach councilwoman, in California’s 44th District over Democratic state Rep. Isadore Hall because of Hall’s ties to the American Beverage Association, Business Insider reported.

Barragan and Hall finished 1-2 in the state’s open primary in June. Under California rules, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party. 

Glassman said he tried to meet with Hall last year to discuss the state representative’s opposition to a bill that would’ve required beverages with a high sugar content to carry labels warning of health risks. However, Hall canceled the meetings unexpectedly, Glassman said. 

“I stopped a family vacation in Scottsdale, flew out to see him, and when I turned my phone on, he canceled on me, never returned the phone calls,” Glassman said in an interview.

Hall did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

The incident prompted Glassman to go all in against Hall once he realized Hall was seeking higher office. 

Glassman then met with Barragan and the two hit it off over a distaste for the disproportionate health effects of soda on immigrant families and the pressures that soda-makers placed on lawmakers.

As the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, Barragan told Business Insider that her parents had no idea about the health risks of soda. She added that the 44th District has the highest rate of diabetes in California. 

“I saw firsthand in my family having diabetes,” Barragan said. “So when he reached out to me and I told him my story, he said, ‘You’re the exact type of person I’m talking about.’”

The race is a possible launching point for more political activism targeting fitness and lowering consumption of sugar-heavy products like soda, Glassman said.

CrossFit has hosted public health and chronic disease awareness events at affiliates across the district, at which Barragan has spoken. The company posted a video this month, featuring Glassman and Barragan addressing CrossFit members at the Carson location.

“I need you to vote,” Glassman says in the video. “This is your community. Take it back from soda pop. Take it back. Don’t let Isadore Hall have this.”

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