State Board of Equalization member Betty Yee has declared victory in the race for state controller almost a month after the June primary, but the possibility of a recount remains.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, finished first out of six candidates with 1,001,473 votes (24.8 percent) as of Tuesday. Because the top two vote-getters go to the November runoff, two Democrats — Yee, who is based in the Bay Area, and Assemblymember John Perez of Los Angeles — have been anxiously watching the results as uncounted ballots were processed.
Yee and Perez have been in a dead heat for second place, both with 21.7 percent of the vote. The latest results show Yee with 878,195 votes and Perez with 877,714, a difference of only 481 votes or about one-hundredth of one percent. The final count includes Lake County in Northern California, which was the last of the 58 counties to report its numbers.
Yee’s campaign issued a press release stating that she “has secured the Democratic nomination for state controller and will advance to the November general election.”
“I want to thank the voters of California for their trust and support,” Yee said in a statement. “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.”
Yee also congratulated Perez, who is Assembly speaker emeritus, “for his strong and positive campaign and for his leadership in restoring fiscal stability to California.”
Perez said in a statement, “Since this is one of the 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.”
Although he can request a recount within five days of the release of official results from the Secretary of State’s Office, Perez’s campaign would have to pay for it.
The current controller, Democrat John Chiang, will be in the runoff for state treasurer.