John Chiang will face a general election challenge from Republican Greg Conlon in his bid to jump from one state fiscal office to another.
Chiang, who is termed out as controller, had 55 percent of the vote in preliminary returns from Tuesday's primary for state treasurer, compared to Conlon's 39 percent.
Conlon is an accountant from Menlo Park who former Gov. Pete Wilson appointed to the state public utilities and transportation commissions.
As the chief banker, the treasurer is responsible for managing the state's investments and administers the sale of bonds and notes.