Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 – 10:39 pm

If Republicans have any chance this year of winning statewide office in this blue state, it probably rests on the shoulders of Pete Peterson, who’s running for secretary of state, or Ashley Swearengin, the GOP candidate for state controller.

That said, the odds against Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, lengthened when Betty Yee, a member of the Board of Equalization, bested John A. Pérez, the former speaker of the Assembly, in a June primary duel that it took a partial vote recount to resolve.

Pérez would have been weighed down by an unpopular Legislature while Yee, it would appear, doesn’t have political baggage to carry. Against Pérez, Swearengin might have gained an edge among women voters, but that vanishes in a contest with Yee.

A recent Field Poll indicates the steep hill that Swearengin must climb, trailing Yee by a 46 percent to 32 percent margin. She’s also trailing in campaign money – and Yee this week took her campaign to Fresno, criticizing Swearengin’s management of the city.

Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, trails the Democratic candidate, state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, in the Field Poll as well, but by much lesser margin, 43 percent to 36 percent.

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