Lanhee Chen has qualified for the general election for state controller on Nov. 8, and as of Tuesday night, it’s likely he will face Malia Cohen.
The position, which CalMatters described as “an accountant and bookkeeper [who] oversee[s] the payout of public funds for the next four years,” has been held by Controller Betty Yee for eight years.
But with Yee, a Democrat, termed out, the open race provides an opportunity for Republicans to claim their first statewide office in years.
Lanhee Chen, a fiscal advisor, is the only Republican on the ballot, though his party affiliation does not seem to be hurting him in Democrat-controlled California. In fact, the Los Angeles Times endorsed him in part because he is a member of the GOP.
“Among this strong field, we believe Chen is the best choice for this position. Why? Because he is a sharp thinker with experience analyzing large financial systems, and because the controller should be as independent from the party in power as possible,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.
Chen, who garnered the most support with about 36.4% of the votes as of 1 a.m. Wednesday, will likely face Democrat Malia Cohen, who serves on the state Board of Equalization.
Cohen has been endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for Los Angeles mayor, and took home about 21.5% of the votes.
As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, Cohen was ahead of three other Democrats — L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin, state Sen. Steve Glazer and CFO Yvonne Yiu — and Green Party candidate Laura Wells in the race for the second spot in the November general election.
See the full results below.