Saturday, June 14, 2014

SATURDAY POLITICS: Nailbiter Election Between Yee and Pérez For State Controller Run-Off Slot

John Pérez, former openly gay Speaker of the California Assembly and Betty Yee, current member of the powerful but little-understood State Board of Equalization are in an incredibly tight race for the second slot in the Top 2 general election in November 2014. Pérez and Yee are both Democrats, and each won about 21.7% of the ballots cast in the June 3rd primary election, second behind Republican Ashley Swearingen, the Mayor of Fresno, who earned 24.9% of the more than 4.3 million votes cast in the state controller race. Swearingen was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times while neither Perez nor Yee were able to obtain the 60% threshold required for the state or county Democratic Party endorsement.

Yee and Pérez are currently just a few hundred votes apart with the lead switching multiple times as vote counting has continued since June 3rd. On election night, both Democrats were behind a second Republican, Dave Evans who now has 21.2% (and who spent an astonishing $600 on his campaign). A Republican has not been elected to any statewide constitutional office in the last general election of 2010 and the specter of Democrats being shutout from a slot on the ballot due to the Top 2 primary system shocked many observers. As of 5:44pm on Friday June 13th, Pérez has 852,243 and Yee has 851,921, a lead of 322 votes, or 0.008% of all votes cast. That is basically a tie!

It's likely (but not certain) that whichever Democrat comes second will be favored to win the Controller's race in November as the Party unites to keep its lock on the state constitutional offices in California in the 2014 general election.

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