Betty Yee Finishes Second in Tight Race for State Controller; John Pérez Considering Recount Options

It took almost a month for the votes to be counted, and the results are not yet officially certified, but based upon vote totals announced by the counties, Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee has edged out Assemblyman John Pérez for the second spot in the November runoff for state controller.

If Ms. Yee’s 481-vote advantage over Mr. Pérez stands, she will advance to the runoff against Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who finished first in the June 3 primary, with 24.8 percent of the vote.

Mr. Pérez has the option of requesting a recount, and the request can be limited to specific counties and even specific voting precincts. Under state law, his campaign would have to pay the costs of the recount. If he were to take the lead based on a targeted recount, Ms. Yee would have the option of requesting a targeted recount of her own, and would have to cover the costs.

In a statement released July 1, the Pérez campaign said: “After nearly a month of counting votes and a vote margin of just 1/100th of one percent, out of more than 4 million votes cast, nobody would like to the see this process completed more than we would. Since this is one of closest statewide elections in the history of California, we have an obligation to review and ensure that every vote cast is accurately counted. During our review, we will also determine whether a recount is warranted.”

California uses a “top two” system in which the first- and second-place finishers in the primary advance to the November election, regardless of party registration. Ms. Swearengin is a Republican, and Ms. Yee is a Democrat.

On her campaign website, Ms. Yee stated: “I want to thank the voters of California for their trust and support. I look forward to bringing my extensive finance experience into the office of Controller. I want to congratulate Assembly Speaker Emeritus Perez for his strong and positive campaign and for his leadership in restoring fiscal stability to California. With the campaign now behind us, I call upon all Democrats to unite in the effort to hold this vital position as California’s Chief Financial Officer.”

July 3, 2014

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