You need something that will compliment the tastes of the stew. You want something juicy but without too much young fruit. Something essentially light, but still with good mouth feel.
Cioppino is as much a California dish as it is Italian, because of the communities of Itialian fishermen on the coast -- Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco to name a few. In fact "cioppino" as such is probably entirely California-Italian. If it was straight Italian it would be called zuppa de pesce.
The varietal of choice here, as well as my recommendation, is Pinot Noir. Indeed, Pinot Noir is probably the red varietal most often recommended with fish. Here are a few California Pinots within your price range, each qualifying as "spectacular:"
First: Frei Brothers (2003)
Second: Byron Vineyards (2001)
Third: Acacia (2002)
Fourth: Wild Horse (2003)
If you can't find any of these, or the prices have risen beyond your range, I'd look for Pinots from other California wineries such as Beaulieu, Chateau St. Jean and Mirassou -- and from Oregon wineries as well.
A Chianti Classico would also be a good choice.
Personally, if I were going with a red, I might stay more on the simple, inexpensive side rather than looking for "spectacular." Had I promised spectacular, and if it were my dinner, I'd seriously consider a rose sparkler like Chandon Estates Rose Brut. Schrammsberg or Gloria Ferrer would be better if you can find either in your range.
With respect to shipscook, neither Riojas nor Zinfandels partner well with fish, with fish stews, or tomato based fish stews. Too rich.