A woman is pictured speaking to another woman on a campaign stop.
Supervisorial candidate Madison Nguyen is pictured in this file photo. Photo courtesy of Madison Nguyen campaign.

An advertisement against Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors candidate Madison Nguyen is calling out her loyalty to the county.

The mailer, paid for by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, compares Nguyen, a former San Jose councilmember and vice mayor running to replace District 2 Supervisor Cindy Chavez, to one candidate it endorsed in the race — Betty Duong, Chavez’s chief of staff. It cites Nguyen’s move from San Jose to Las Vegas in 2021, quoting this news organization, and claims she chose to raise her family elsewhere after she “dismantled public safety” during her eight years on San Jose City Council.

One side of the mailer against Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors D2 candidate Madison Nguyen, with a photo of candidate Betty Duong on top and Nguyen on bottom.
One side of the mailer against Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors D2 candidate Madison Nguyen, funded by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.

The ad uses a partial quote from a February San José Spotlight article dispelling rumors about Nguyen moving to Las Vegas and still being registered to vote there.

“In 2021, Nguyen said she and her family moved from San Jose to Las Vegas,” the ad reads.

But the mailer does not use the full sentence, which puts into context that Nguyen moved for family reasons.

“In 2021, Nguyen said she and her family moved from San Jose to Las Vegas for a year and bought a home there to take care of her mother-in-law after her father-in-law died,” the article reads.

When asked about the context missing from the ad, South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Jean Cohen said the move to Las Vegas and subsequent move back was sneaky.

“Madison left San Jose to move to Las Vegas,” she told San José Spotlight. “She bought a home in Las Vegas. She claimed it as her primary residence and registered to vote there. Now she has moved back to San Jose to run for office, keeping her move to Las Vegas secret from voters, donors and news organizations. We have no doubt she would still be keeping it secret had we not cited her dishonesty and lack of transparency, which are serious ethical concerns in a prospective elected official.”

Nguyen previously said the home she purchased was left to her mother-in-law when Nguyen came back to California in January 2023, with her husband and child.  She said the attacks from the labor organization were unnecessary over an issue that was a family matter last month.

“I understand politics can get negative, but this is a cruel attack on my family. It really is. Come on,” Nguyen previously told San José Spotlight. “I went to another city to care for my family and I got attacked for this?”

Nguyen added this week that it’s “ironic” for Cohen to call the move sneaky after the two of them discussed the topic during lunch in Japantown last March.

“I told her all about Las Vegas and the death of my father-in-law,” Nguyen said. “She knew about this almost two months before I announced to run. There’s nothing secret about my move to Las Vegas. I don’t think I need to put out a press release about everything I do in my personal life.”

The labor council has spent more than $21,300 on attack ads against Nguyen and more than $265,000 supporting Duong, including mailers, canvassing and phone banking, according to the labor organization’s expenditure filings.

Nguyen and Duong are frontrunners for the March 5 primary elections in what could be a historic race, where if elected, either candidate would be the board’s first Vietnamese-American supervisor. Nguyen was the first Vietnamese candidate elected to San Jose’s city council in 2005.

Other candidates include Alum Rock Union School District Trustee Corina Herrera-Loera, Jennifer Celaya, the Native American founder of the nonprofit New Beginnings, and Nelson McElmurry, a practicing attorney.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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