It was, the Los Angeles Times editorial says, “a difficult decision,” but on Wednesday it gave its endorsement to Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin for state controller.
“That’s unbelievable,” a thrilled Swearengin said of winning the backing of the state’s largest daily newspaper.
Even bigger, The Times endorsed no one else. Some newspapers — in a nod to the state’s top two primary, in which the top two finishers, regardless of political party, move on to face each in November — have backed two candidates.
Swearengin is facing five other candidates, but only she and two others — Assembly Speaker John Pérez and state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee — are considered viable.
The Times gave props to both Yee and, especially, Pérez, but said Swearengin “has the clearer view of the controller’s primary responsibility — fiscal accountability — and the better background to do the work.”
It noted that she “righted Fresno’s listing financial ship by reducing the number of public employees by 1,700 positions,” and also noted her experience in economic development.
The editorial also said Swearengin, a Republican, “stands out as a moderate pragmatist who is not pursuing an unpopular social conservative agenda.”