The Los Angeles Democrat opened a campaign account the same day and funded it with $1.5 million bankrolled while in the Assembly, his political strategist, Doug Herman, said.
Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, a former California Department of Finance chief deputy director, has also announced her candidacy for the office. She had about $473,000 on hand at the end of June.
The race for controller opened wide after state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who was expected to seek the seat, announced this summer he would retire from politics when his term expires in early 2015. State Controller John Chiang, who is termed out next year, is raising money for a campaign for treasurer.
Pérez said he was running for controller at a town hall meeting in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and he released a statement on a campaign website.
"Balancing our books is essential, but this job is about even more. It's about promoting the financial stability that can offer every Californian the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our state's prosperity," Pérez said in the statement. "I will continue to advance smart investment decisions that help businesses, create jobs and unleash California's full potential."
PHOTO: Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, in Assembly chambers in Sacramento on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/ Hector Amezcua.