Dave Cortese, the 30-year veteran of Santa Clara County politics, will soon bring those skills to Sacramento, representing California’s Senate District 15.
As of 9 a.m. Nov. 4, Cortese has a solid lead over rival Ann Ravel, winning 53.8% of the vote. Ravel garnered 46.1% of the vote with 58% of the ballots counted.
In a Facebook video uploaded at 9 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, Cortese thanked his staff and supporters for all their work.
“This was definitely the biggest, toughest campaign that I’ve been involved with, but it was also the campaign with the best team I’ve ever been involved with,” he said. “I’ve been getting some early congratulations because of the early, very solid lead that we have, and I just want to say to all of you, to the voters, thank you so much for being willing to be part of a team like this.”
Cortese said that he and his supporters are “bettering conditions for this community, bettering conditions for ourselves and really returning California to be the great state that attracted so many of us here in the first place.”
After the second round of results came in Nov. 3, Ravel told San José Spotlight: “There are still lots of votes to be counted.”
Cortese is vying to replace the term-limited Jim Beall to represent the more than 930,000 residents who make up San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga.
Cortese comes from a long line of California politicians, with his maternal grandfather serving as a Santa Clara councilman and his father serving as Santa Clara County supervisor and a state assemblyman. He said those experiences had profound effects on his career goals and fueled his passion for public service.
The East San Jose native has served as an elected official in San Jose for nearly three decades, starting as a trustee on the city’s East Side Union High School board in 1992 and soon after moving his way to positions on San Jose City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Cortese told San José Spotlight in October that in Sacramento he’ll fight to ensure that local governments are able to provide services to their constituents and foster a more streamlined economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My job as an elected official is to get people feeling good again,” he said. “Whatever we need to do to right the ship and give people confidence that we’re going to be able to recover.”
In his campaign, Cortese further emphasized the issues of homelessness, the housing crisis, public safety, and widely-available health care. His efforts garnered support and endorsements from the California Democratic Party, Dolores Huerta and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
Beall told San José Spotlight that Cortese would carry on his work from the last eight years representing District 15.
“He’s not a guy who goes out and gives extravagant speeches,” Beall said. “Public service requires real work. He works at it and his work speaks for itself.”
In the March primary, Cortese garnered 33.9% of the vote, leading the pack of seven candidates.
Contact Grace Stetson at [email protected] and follow her @grace_m_stetson on Twitter.