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California Republicans Lead Polls for Two State Offices

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April 12 (Bloomberg) -- California Republicans, now shut out of every statewide office, are leading in the races for controller and secretary of state in June’s open primary election, polls show.

Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, tops the controller’s race with 28 percent of likely voters, according to a Field Poll released today. She is trailed by Betty Yee, a Democrat on the state Board of Equalization, at 19 percent, and Assembly Speaker John Perez, one of the state’s Democratic leaders, at 14 percent.

In the campaign for secretary of state, Republican Pete Peterson, executive director of a public policy institute at Pepperdine University, is backed by 30 percent of likely voters, while state Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat representing the San Fernando Valley, follows at 17 percent, according to a separate Field poll, released yesterday.

The most populous U.S. state holds a so-called open primary, in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.

“Swearengin’s first-place lead is derived primarily from her strong backing among fellow Republicans,” the San Francisco-based Field Research Corp. said in a statement. “By contrast, Yee and Perez are dividing the preferences of Democrats.”

Three scandals have rocked the state’s Democratic Party this year, including the March 26 arrest of Senator Leland Yee, who had been a candidate for secretary of state, on firearms trafficking charges. State Senator Ron Calderon, of Los Angeles, was accused in February of taking kickbacks, while state Senator Rod Wright was convicted of voter fraud in January.

Both polls contacted 504 likely voters by telephone from March 18 to April 5. The controller survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, while the results for the secretary of state had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at avekshin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net Pete Young, Michael Hytha

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