Capitol Alert: Betty Yee criticizes, John A. Pérez cheers state party in controller race

03/09/2014 2:01 PM

03/09/2014 2:51 PM

LOS ANGELES - Betty Yee, the state Board of Equalization member competing against Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez in the Democratic race for state controller, issued a vague but stinging indictment of the state party Sunday, suggesting its leadership has become too heavy-handed and is disconnected from grassroots activists.

Her remarks, on the final day of the California Democratic Party's annual convention here, highlighted the intensity of a fight for the party's endorsement in the race, one of the most competitive statewide contests.

In delegate voting following two days of lobbying, neither Yee nor Pérez received sufficient support to win the endorsement. The speaker, with nearly 48 percent of the vote, finished ahead of Yee by just more than 3 percentage points.

In his convention speech, Pérez, a former labor organizer, recounted legislative achievements and electoral pick-ups made by Democrats in the Legislature during his tenure.

"We're expanding the map everywhere," he said. "In California, red to blue is not a slogan. It's a reality."

Without offering specific examples, Yee accused some members of the party of bullying activists "so power may remain in the hands of a few political leaders." She said "grassroots activists often are relegated to ridicule."

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