California Secretary of State election, 2014

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California Secretary of State Election

Primary Date:
June 3, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Alex Padilla Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Debra Bowen Democratic Party
Debra Bowen.jpg

California State Executive Elections
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Governor Lieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney General
Down Ballot
Treasurer, Controller, Superintendent, Insurance Commissioner

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The California Secretary of State election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Debra Bowen (D) was first elected in 2006 and could not seek re-election in 2014 due to term limits. The race to replace Bowen featured Democratic candidate Alex Padilla and Republican candidate Pete Peterson. Padilla won election to a four-year term.

California is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election.[1][2][3]


General election

Republican Party Pete Peterson - Executive director of Pepperdine University's Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership[4][5]
Democratic Party Alex Padilla Green check mark transparent.png - State Senator District 20[6]

Lost in the primary

Republican Party Roy Allmond[7]
Democratic Party Derek Cressman - Political Reform Activist[8][9]
Democratic Party Jeff Drobman - Software developer[10][11]
Independent No Party Preference, Dan Schnur - Professor, former GOP political strategist[12]
Green Party David Scott Curtis - 2010 Green Party candidate for Governor of Nevada[13]
Democratic Party Leland Yee - Ex-state Senator (Yee remained on the ballot but is no longer an active candidate)


General election

Secretary of State of California, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAlex Padilla 53.6% 3,799,711
     Republican Pete Peterson 46.4% 3,285,334
Total Votes 7,085,045
Election Results via California Secretary of State.

Primary election

California Secretary of State, Blanket Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAlex Padilla 30.2% 1,217,371
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPete Peterson 29.7% 1,194,715
     Democratic Leland Yee 9.4% 380,361
     Nonpartisan Dan Schnur 9.2% 369,898
     Democratic Derek Cressman 7.6% 306,375
     Republican Roy Allmond 6.4% 256,668
     Democratic Jeff Drobman 4.4% 178,521
     Green David Curtis 3% 121,618
Total Votes 4,025,527
Election Results California Secretary of State.

Race background

Primary election

Stances on top-two primary system

One of the key issues of the 2014 secretary of state primary was the signature and filing requirements for minor party candidates under California's top-two primary system. Under new qualifications implemented with the top-two primary system, minor party candidates must collect 10,000 signatures to waive a filing fee equal to 2 percent of the first year's salary for state offices or 1 percent for members of Congress. Prior to implementing the top-two system, the number of signatures required to waive that fee was 150, so most minor parties opted to file petitions.

After launching their campaigns for California Secretary of State, California State Senator Alex Padilla (D) and ex-state Sen. Leland Yee (D), who ultimately had to withdraw from the race after he was arrested in March 2014, expressed concerns about ballot access limitations for minor parties under the top-two primary system. Yee opposed the top-two system during his time in the California State Senate and Senator Padilla said his office was looking into legislative solutions.[14][15] Green Party candidate David Scott Curtis campaigned against the top-two system while independent candidate Dan Schnur, who was designated "no party preference" on the ballot since California’s Proposition 14 took away candidates' "independent" label option, was in favor of the system. Democrat Derek Cressman openly opposed the system but did not focus on the issue during his campaign.

Also in the race, Democrat Jeff Drobman and two Republicans, Pete Peterson and Roy Allmond, had not made their stances on the top-two system known prior to the primary.

Candidates excluded from debate

A California non-profit association called the Sacramento Press Club incited the ire of Green Party candidate David Scott Curtis after failing to invite him and two other 2014 secretary of state candidates to participate in an April 23 debate.[16] With seven candidates in the running, the Sacramento Press Club said they wanted to restrict the size of the event by only including "top contenders in a crowded field," whom they determined to be Pete Peterson (R), state Sen. Alex Padilla (D), Dan Schnur (I) and Derek Cressman (D). By the time Curtis learned of his exclusion, back-to-back Field Polls had been released showing Curtis ahead of both Schnur and Cressman. Absent an immediate explanation or apology from the Sacramento Press Club, Curtis used social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to broadcast his outrage over what he considered a conspicuous display of political bias by the tax-exempt organization. Curtis also filed an IRS investigation request related to the group's tax-exempt status.[17] A press club representative characterized Curtis's actions as a "tirade of insulting and threatening social media posts" against the organization. The Green Party hopeful questioned what such selectivity meant for the state of 'journalism' in an attempt to highlight the significance of the snub. Curtis also noted that some of the major-party candidates were already known for courting media attention. Schnur was known for furnishing the Capitol press, whose members make up a large portion of the Sacramento Press Club, with sound bites and other material. Schnur was one of the two candidates to receive invitations to the debate hosted by the press club despite trailing Curtis in the polls. Joe Mathews, the California editor at Zocalo Public Square, wrote, “Of course, I’m for Dan Schnur for Secretary of State. I’m in the media, and he’s our candidate...He’s the favored candidate of our state’s political media, which feeds us polls and old, bogus narratives about the state.”[16] Meanwhile, Northern California's chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists honored Leland Yee with its Public Official Award shortly before Yee's arrest forced him to exit the race.[16]

Yee Arrest

On March 26, 2014, Democratic candidate Leland Yee was arraigned on seven charges of corruption and firearms trafficking. Yee, along with 25 others, was involved in an FBI operation to uncover those suspected of illegal activities involving drugs, guns and arranging murder for hire. If convicted, Yee would face up to 20 years in a federal prison. He was released on a $500,000 unsecured bond. Yee's alleged illegal activities stemmed from his debt acquired in a failed run for San Francisco mayor in 2011 and money raised for the Secretary of State race. Authorities believed Yee accepted money for official actions performed while in office. These actions included urging an agency to accept a software contract from a specific vendor in exchange for $10,000, writing a Senate proclamation to honor the Chee Kung Tong group for $6,800 and introducing a medical marijuana businessman to state legislators working on the issue for $21,000. Unknown to Yee, all of these paying contacts were undercover agents. In other attempts to raise money, Yee allegedly promised to help other undercover agents obtain illegal guns from an international arms dealer.[18]

Despite no longer being in the race, Yee's name remained on the primary ballot. This was due to a little-known election rule barring candidates from withdrawing their names from the ballot after they file.



California Secretary of State
Poll Derek Cressman (D) Alex Padilla (D)Pete Peterson (R)Dan Schnur (NPP)David Scott Curtis (G)Leland Yee (D)OtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
The Field Poll (with Yee)
March 18-April 5, 2014
The Field Poll (without Yee)
March 18-April 5, 2014
AVERAGES 2.5% 13.5% 28.5% 4% 4.5% 4% 0.5% 42.5% +/-6 252
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Past elections


2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[19]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Debra Bowen 53.2%
     Republican Party Damon Dunn 38.4%
     Green Party Ann Menasche 3.0%
     Libertarian Party Christina M. Tobin 2.2%
     American Independent Party Merton D. Short 1.6%
     Peace and Freedom Party Marylou Cabral 1.6%
Total Votes 9,336,900


2006 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[20]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Debra Bowen 48.1%
     Republican Party Bruce McPherson 45.0%
     Green Party Forrest Hill 2.2%
     Write-In 4.7%
Total Votes 8,385,573

Campaign finance

Comprehensive donor information for this election has been collected by Follow the Money. Based on available campaign finance records, the candidates raised a raised a total of $5,626,080 during the election. This information was last updated on February 5, 2015.[21]

Campaign Contribution Totals
Candidate Office Result Contributions
Alex Padilla Democratic Party California Secretary of State Won $2,825,613
Leland Yee Democratic Party California Secretary of State Defeated $1,225,692
Dan Schnur Independent California Secretary of State Defeated $669,009
Derek Cressman Democratic Party California Secretary of State Defeated $503,829
Pete Peterson Republican Party California Secretary of State Defeated $387,805
Roy Allmond Republican Party California Secretary of State Defeated $7,751
David Curtis Green Party California Secretary of State Defeated $6,381
Jeff Drobman Democratic Party California Secretary of State Defeated $0
Grand Total Raised $5,626,080

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
February 20, 2014 Deadline for candidates to file signatures in lieu of a filing fee
March 7, 2014 Candidate filing deadline if paying fee for ballot access
June 3, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
November 6-December 2, 2014 State Canvassing Board meeting to certify election results
January 5, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials in general election

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

California Secretary of State election, 2014 News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  4. Pete Peterson for Secretary of State 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed March 28, 2014
  5. The Sacramento Bee, "Republican leader of policy institute to run for secretary of state," April 23, 2013
  6. Alex Padilla for Secretary of State 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed March 28, 2014
  7. Roy Allmond for Secretary of State 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed March 28, 2014
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named August15candidates
  9. Derek Cressman for Secretary of State 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 11, 2013
  10. Jeff Drobman for California Secretary of State, "Facebook Timeline," accessed March 28, 2014
  11. California Secretary of State, "Voter Guide: Voluntary Campaign Spending Limits for Candidates for Statewide Elective Office," accessed March 28, 2014 (dead link)
  12. Dan Schnur for Secretary of State 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed March 28, 2014
  13. David Curtis for Secretary of State 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 11, 2013
  14., "Padilla, Yee looking at 3rd party ballot access issues," February 20, 2014
  15., "In statewide debut, top-two primary blocks third parties from June ballot," February 14, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2, "Sacramento Press Club excludes Green Party candidate from Secretary of State debate," April 20, 2014
  17., " Re: Exclusion of Green Party Candidate from Secretary of State Debate," April 20, 2014
  18. The Sacramento Bee, "FBI: California Sen. Leland Yee took bribes, trafficked guns," March 27, 2014
  19. New York Times, "2010 General Election Results" 2 Nov. 2010
  20. California Secretary of State - 2006 General Election Results
  21. Follow the Money, "Overview of California 2014 elections," accessed February 5, 2015