Ashley Swearengin Loses Close California Controller Race


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Fresno, California Mayor Ashley Swearengin lost a close race for California state controller on election day this week. Swearengin, a Republican, received 47.3 percent of the state's votes, falling short of the 52.7 percent Democrat Betty Yee received.

In a message posted to her campaign website on Wednesday Swearengin thanked supporters and campaigners. She praised her campaign for the close race and encouraged her supporters to continue pushing for their vision of California. From the message:

After entering the State Controller’s race late in the process - just days before the close-of-filing - we had a truly remarkable run.

Along the way, we built steady momentum and gained growing support from volunteers, families, small business owners, and virtually every major newspaper in the state.

What an incredible surge of energy, activity, and support!

We were also able to begin to tell the story of success here in Fresno. Yes, good planning and sound policy will produce lasting change. If those principles can work in Fresno, we know they can work across California.

Of course, we came very close to defeating a 10-year incumbent of a state constitutional office, and that made some "defenders of the status quo" a little nervous. The AFL-CIO ended up spending nearly $1 million to defeat us.

California's state controller oversees the state's finances and serves on dozens of state boards. The position includes administering California's payroll system and accounting for public funds.

According to the Fresno Bee Swearengin had campaigned largely on her role in staving off bankruptcy in Fresno. Her campaign loss means that Fresno will not have to hold a special election to determine the city's new mayor.

Yee has been a member of the California State Board of Equalization since 2004. The board is responsible for tax administration in California and is the only elected tax commission in the U.S.

Yee will take the place of current Controller John Chiang, who has served the position's two-term maximum. Chiang was elected California treasurer this week.