California down ballot state executive elections, 2014
June 3, 2014
November 4, 2014
Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General
Treasurer, Controller, Superintendent, Insurance Commissioner
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.
|Office||Incumbent||Assumed Office||Incumbent running?||General Election Candidates||2014 Winner||Partisan Switch?|
||2007||Term-limited|| John Chiang
||2007||Term-limited, running for treasurer|| Betty Yee
|Superintendent of Public Instruction||Tom Torlakson
||2011||Yes|| Tom Torlakson
|Commissioner of Insurance||Dave Jones
||2011||Yes|| Dave Jones
- Bill Lockyer (term-limited, retiring)
The treasurer is the state's banker, directed to "receive and keep in the vaults of the State Treasury or deposit in banks or credit unions all moneys belonging to the state..." He disburses funds to cover state expenditures based on warrants from the controller's office, approves state bond issuances, and manages the state's investments, including state employee pension funds.
Beyond his administrative duties, the treasurer chairs 13 state boards and commissions, from the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. He sits as a member on 45 additional committees.
The controller's primary responsibility is to track and control the disbursement of the state of California's money. Besides producing the warrants under which money is released from the state treasury, the controller's office audits personnel and payroll transactions, administers the Uniform State Payroll System for state employees, and "determine[s] legality and accuracy of every claim against the State." Before allowing the state's money to be dispersed, the controller's office "determines the legality and accuracy of all claims against the State through the performance of prepayment audits." Beyond his financial responsibilities, the controller's duties contain a public relations element; he is responsible for informing "the public of the State's financial condition," and "financial transactions of city, county and district governments."
The controller's office has several other miscellaneous fiscal duties, including a number related to tax administration; it administers the state's unclaimed property program, the Property Tax Postponement Program and collects the state's estate, inheritance and gift taxes. It also audits the use of gasoline and property taxes.
Superintendent of public instruction
The superintendent of public instruction is the administrative head of the California Department of Education; he or she executes the policies made by the state Board of Education and oversees the operation of the state's public school system. The superintendent provides local and county school boards with blank teachers certificates, oversees all state education employees, organizes adult education programs, evaluates the performance of public schools and manages departmental facilities and resources, among other duties.
Commissioner of insurance
The commissioner, as head of the California Department of Insurance, is responsible for regulating the state's insurance industry. The department licenses insurance providers, approves all rate or premium increases, investigates consumer complaints and allegations of fraud, analyzes insurance policy issues, and supervises the financial well-being of insurance companies. The department is also responsible for winding down the operations of bankrupt insurance companies and liquidating their assets. It also publishes a variety of information for consumers, including insurance news, guides and legal info.
- National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
- Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
- Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
- John Chiang for State Treasurer 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 12, 2013
- California Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance:Statement of Intention," accessed November 27, 2012
- The Sacramento Bee, "California's insurance commissioner seeks re-election, more power," December 22, 2013
- California Government Code, "Title 2, Division 3, Part 2, Chapter 4, Article 2," accessed June 24, 2011.
- California State Controller's Office, "Responsibilities of the Controller's Office," accessed June 24, 2011.
- California Education Code, "Title 2, Division 2, Part 20, Chapter 2, Article 2, Sections 33110-33133," accessed June 27, 2011.