SACRAMENTO — Former Assembly Speaker John Perez on Friday called off the vote recount he requested in the race for state controller after a week of vote-counting in two California counties yielded only eight additional votes in his favor.
Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat, requested the recount in 15 counties after finishing third in the June 3 primary, just 481 votes behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization. Nearly 4.5 million votes were cast in the race.
Perez conceded the second-place spot to Yee and endorsed her.
“While I strongly believe that completing this process would result in me advancing to the general election, it is clear that there are significant deficiencies in the process itself which make continuing the recount problematic,” he said in a statement.
Perez added that “there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end.”
California law has no provision for an automatic recount even in very close races and requires candidates or individuals who mount a challenge to pay the cost of having county elections staff recount ballots, making it out of reach for some.
Perez was coming under increasing pressure from fellow Democrats to call off the recount, which could have dragged on for months as elections officials were preparing general-election ballots and voter guides.
The California Democratic Party endorsed Yee last weekend, gave her campaign a $50,000 donation and has been soliciting other contributions to help her campaign pay its own recount costs.
Yee issued a statement thanking Perez “for doing the right thing in recognizing that the recount was unlikely to reverse the outcome of the election. Now we can move forward, united for the November general election.”
The recount was the first in a statewide candidate election in modern California history, and Perez said it highlighted flaws in the state’s election laws.
The top vote-getter was Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno.
“I’m looking forward to a healthy debate about our differing visions for state government and how best to use the controller’s office to support economic growth and fiscal stability,” she said in a statement released by her campaign.