Recount in State Controller’s Race Headed to Second Week

(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

The historic recount of votes cast in the race for state controller will enter its second week on Monday, with the candidate who’s asking for a second look still moving forward with the process — and refusing calls by some of his fellow Democrats to call it quits.

Elections officials in San Bernardino County agreed on Thursday to take a second look at votes in the race, as requested by former Assembly Speaker John Pérez. It will be the third county whose votes have been retabulated as Pérez seeks to make up the June 3 election gap of 481 votes with fellow Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization.

Yee, unless the certified results are overturned, will face Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, on Nov. 4. Pérez has asked for as many as 15 counties to recount their votes.

“We’d like to speed this thing up,” said Doug Herman, campaign consultant to Pérez on Thursday evening. That may include a recount by machine, rather than continuing the tally by hand, of the remaining votes in Kern County — one of the first two counties that Pérez asked to take another look.

But the count so far has not discovered the votes Pérez needs to change the expected outcome. Parke Skelton, the campaign consultant for Betty Yee, sends emails to reporters daily with a running tally. He estimates that Pérez has, at best, picked up just two or three votes through almost the first full week of the recount.

“Despite his spectacular lack of success in Imperial and Kern counties,” wrote Skelton Thursday in an email to reporters, “John Pérez has decided to move the traveling recall [sic] show into San Bernardino County.”

Pérez has been under pressure by some Democrats to end the recount process, but his political advisers say that it’s reasonable to make sure the votes are counted as they’ve been cast.

“This is a legitimate and historic recount,” said Herman in a phone interview. “We should continue it.”

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John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new California Politics and Government Desk.  A veteran of almost two decades of political coverage, he served nine years as the statehouse bureau chief for KQED Public Radio and The California Report, and most recently as political editor for the Sacramento ABC-TV affiliate, News10 (KXTV). John served as moderator of the only 2014 gubernatorial debate, and was recently named by The Washington Post as one of the nation's most influential statehouse reporters.  Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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