SAN FRANCISCO - Former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, filed a recount request in the tight primary election for California state controller.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, topped the June 3 primary for controller to claim a spot on the November general election ballot.

But final preliminary results show Perez 481 votes behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee for the second and final spot.

Yee is a member of the state's elected Board of Equalization.

"Never in California history has the vote difference between two candidates for statewide office been so narrow, 481 votes or 1/100th of one percent, out of more than four million ballots cast," Pérez said in a statement Sunday. "It is therefore of the utmost importance that an additional, carefully conducted review of the ballots be undertaken to ensure that every vote is counted, as intended."

The top two candidates advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Under state law, any registered voter can ask for a recount, but he or she must cover the costs. In addition, the requester can say which counties to count first and which precincts in those counties to start with.

Pérez is asking for a recount in 15 counties, including his home base of Los Angeles, as well as Fresno, San Mateo, and Riverside.

In his letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen, he requested that the recount begin with the counties of Kern, Imperial, and San Bernardino.

Pérez announced his candidacy for the position in October, and won endorsements from several state officials, including State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

John Chiang, the current controller, can't run again because of term limits. He is running to replace the termed-out Lockyer as treasurer. Chiang, a Democrat, will face Republican Greg Conlon in November.

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