A guide to 2022 California controller’s primary race: Can GOP win in Golden State?

Someone waves an American flag in front of the state capital
The state capital in 2020.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In the race for California controller, Republicans hope a divided field of Democrats will allow the party’s one candidate to emerge on top in the June 7 primary.

But even then, Democrats are likely to have the advantage in November. Republicans have not won a general election for statewide office since 2006, the year Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nabbed reelection and Steve Poizner became insurance commissioner.

The current state controller, Betty Yee, has served two four-year terms and can’t run again. Four Democrats’ names will appear on the June 7 ballot, alongside a single Republican and a member of the Green Party.


The candidates

All six candidates answered detailed questionnaires written by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are their responses.

The job

According to the state, these are the controller’s main responsibilities:

  • Account for and control the disbursement of all state funds.
  • Determine the legality and accuracy of any claim made against the state.
  • Issue warrants in payment of the State’s bills, including lottery prizes.
  • Administer the Uniform State Payroll System.
  • Audit and process all personnel and payroll transactions for state civil service employees, exempt employees and California State University employees.
  • Audit various state and local government programs.
  • Inform the public of the state’s financial condition.
  • Administer the Unclaimed Property Law.
  • Inform the public of financial transactions carried out by city, county and district governments.

Reading list:

Reading from other publications

Digging into the state controller’s race

Interviewing candidates from state controller
(Sacramento Bee)

The race for state controller
(Spectrum One)

Is a Republican controller what California needs?
(San Francisco Chronicle)

Roundtable discussion with the candidates