LOS ANGELES (AP) - Termed-out as state controller, Democrat John Chiang is playing political musical chairs by running for state treasurer and appears to be a shoo-in to win.
Chiang will face Republican challenger Greg Conlon as Chiang aims to move a half-mile up the Capitol Mall and jump from one state fiscal office to another.
Chiang got 55 percent of the vote to Conlon's 38 in June's primary election. A September Field Poll of likely voters showed an even bigger margin, with Chiang leading Conlon 52-26 with 22 percent undecided in the heavily Democratic state.
Chiang's terms as controller came at a time when the state and its cities were in fiscal peril.
NAME - John Chiang.
AGE-BIRTH DATE-BIRTHPLACE - 52; July 31, 1962; New York City.
PARTY - Democrat.
EXPERIENCE - State controller, 2007-present; Worked as a tax law specialist at Internal Revenue Service; Elected to Board of Equalization in 1998.
EDUCATION - Finance degree from University of South Florida, 1984; law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, 1987.
FAMILY - Wife, Terry.
QUOTE - "As your banker, I'm going to speak truth to power as I have for the last seven years. I've taken on everybody."
NAME - Greg Conlon.
AGE-BIRTH DATE-BIRTHPLACE - 81; March 2, 1933; Chicago.
PARTY - Republican.
EXPERIENCE - Accountant and former senior partner at Arthur Andersen LLP; Served as commissioner and president of the California Public Utilities Commission and commissioner on the California Transportation Commission, both as appointee of Gov. Pete Wilson in the 1990s.
EDUCATION - Bachelor's degree, University of Utah, 1955; law degree, University of San Francisco, 2000.
FAMILY - Widower with two children and two grandchildren.
QUOTE - "Businesses are leaving California in droves ... In reality, they are not leaving, we are driving them out to more tax friendly states. My solution is to make California business friendly once again by creating a tax structure that is fair and balanced."
He oversaw 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 salaries made national headlines.
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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, is a CPA from Menlo Park and longtime partner at Arthur Andersen LLP, the former Big Five accounting firm.
He served as president and commissioner of the California Public Utilities in the 1990s under former Gov. Pete Wilson, who also appointed him to the state transportation commission.
His run for treasurer comes 12 years after the first time he sought the office, losing in 2002 to Democrat Phil Angelides. Conlon also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008.
Conlon has touted his accounting and business acumen over Chiang's career in government.
He has said Chiang's controller's office engaged in "bad math" in its fiscal oversight that was full of errors and miscalculations.
The treasurer is the state's chief banker, responsible for managing investments and administering the sale of bonds and notes.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
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