Assemblyman John A. Pérez’s campaign for state controller unleashed an expensive blast of TV ads in the weeks before the June 3 primary election, according to the campaign’s latest filing.
Thursday’s report, which covers the period from May 18 through the end of June, shows that Pérez, D-Los Angeles, spent about $1.6 million on TV airtime and production costs. Of that, almost $1.4 million was paid to 20 TV stations in major markets of the state, including more than $760,000 in the state’s expensive Los Angeles market, the filing shows.
Pérez began the filing period with $1.8 million on hand and had a huge financial advantage over his main Democratic rival, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Despite the late TV push, Pérez finished in third place, just 481 votes behind Yee, out of more than 4 million ballots cast in the six-person contest. Yee will face first-place finisher Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, in November.
Yee’s campaign spent $101,000 from mid-May through June, ending the month with $84,000 on hand and $18,000 in debt, according to her campaign’s filing. But a Yee spokesman has said the campaign incurred $70,000 to $80,000 in debts related to the recount requested by Pérez in 15 counties. Pérez, who asked for the recount July 6, ended it two weeks later after picking up a handful of votes in Imperial and Kern counties.
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Swearengin, who announced her candidacy just before the candidate filing deadline in March, raised $227,000 from mid-May through June, for a total of more than $500,000 in contributions since she entered the race.
Swearengin spent $626,000, including $305,000 from mid-May through June, ending the filing period with $133,000 on hand. But the campaign also reported more than $258,000 in debt to campaign consultants, fundraisers and others.