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State Controller Chiang To Be Next Treasurer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Controller John Chiang won his bid to move from California's chief accountant to its top banker on Tuesday.

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The 52-year-old Democrat defeated Republican Greg Conlon, an accountant from Menlo Park, by a large margin. Chiang had nearly 57 percent of the votes compared to 43 for Conlon with 61 percent of precincts reporting.

The treasurer is responsible for managing state investments and administering the sale of bonds and notes.

As controller, the termed-out Chiang was responsible for overseeing government audits and disbursements of state funds when California and its cities were in fiscal peril.

Chiang also managed audits and investigations in the financially troubled city of Stockton, which in 2012 became the biggest U.S. city at the time ever to declare bankruptcy, and in the corruption-riddled city of Bell, where exorbitant City Hall salaries made national headlines.

Chiang often took on the state's pension organization, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and, in a recent audit report, attacked its generally passive approach that he said invites abuse.

Conlon, 81, a longtime partner at Arthur Andersen LLP, the former Big Five accounting firm, served as president and commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission in the 1990s under former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who also appointed him to the state transportation commission.

His run for treasurer comes 12 years after he first sought the office and lost. Conlon also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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