Debra J. Saunders

Election attorney Chuck Bell thinks the Perez approach is tactically smart. "Perez," he explained, "is starting with the lowest-cost options at the front end, picking districts that wouldn't cost as much to do some preliminary evaluation." But there's no escaping that this is a "money talks" system. As former speaker, Perez can afford to wage a 15-county probe. If Perez wins because he could afford a candidate's choice recount but Yee could not, he wins ugly.

Yee consultant Parke Skelton believes that there's an equal-protection argument to be made in court if Perez prevails. I wouldn't be surprised if a California or federal judge ruled that a selective recount shortchanges voters in the state's other 43 counties.

"If Perez wins this only by cherry-picking precincts," GOP strategist Allan Hoffenblum told me, "I think he will be tainted. I think it will be very good for Swearengin." If Perez wins on a technicality, then it will weaken him.

Debra J. Saunders

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