Dan Walters

July 16, 2014

The Buzz: Did candidate statements make a difference in race for controller?

At a maximum cost of $6,250, candidate statements in voter guides are a rare bargain in California campaigns.

Voter guide statements

can be a decisive buy

At a maximum cost of $6,250, candidate statements in voter guides are a rare bargain in California campaigns.

Betty Yee was the only one of three Democrats in the controller’s field to buy a statement. It went to 10.6 million voter households, noting several endorsements and calling her “extraordinarily well qualified and a recognized expert in state budgets and fiscal policy.” She finished in second place, 481 votes ahead of Assemblyman John A. Pérez, who now is seeking a recount in 15 counties in an effort to surpass Yee and make the Nov. 4 ballot.

The voter guide statements are meant to encourage candidates to comply with voluntary spending limits. Controller’s candidates had to agree to spend no more than $5.44 million in the primary. Yee agreed. Pérez did not, but his spending seems likely to be well below $5.44 million.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who finished first, also did not accept spending limits. But she was surprisingly outpolled in many places by fellow Republican David Evans, who spent $600 and had a voter guide statement that said simply, “Most qualified for Controller.”

– Jim Miller

Worth repeating

“When the recount process is necessary, it should be easily implemented and every vote valued and counted equally.”

ASSEMBLYMAN KEVIN MULLIN, D-South San Francisco, pondering changes in the recount system.

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