Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Senator Yee Withdraws from Secretary of State Race

Mar 27, 2014

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Democratic State Senator Leland Yee has dropped out of the race for California Secretary of State. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the announcement came a day after Yee was arrested and charged with wire fraud and gun trafficking.

Yee exited the race he'd been planning for two years with a one sentence letter to current Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Yee's campaign to succeed Bowen came to an abrupt end after he was arrested and charged with using his Senate connections in exchange for campaign contributions. Yee allegedly set up meetings for undercover FBI agents with other state lawmakers and gun runners. His arrest was part of a sting operation that also snared San Francisco gang leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and 24 others.

Yee has not said whether he will resign his Senate seat. Members of both parties have called on him to do so. Democratic leaders say they will vote to suspend Yee if he doesn’t leave office willingly. US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have issued statements calling for Yee’s resignation.

Campaign finance rules allow Yee to use money from his Secretary of State campaign account to pay his legal fees.