Follow the money: Silicon Valley’s 2022 primary election
San Jose City Hall is pictured in this file photo.

Editor’s note: Tracking for PAC spending will be updated daily until election day on June 7. 

It’s election season in Silicon Valley, with several key county positions and more than half of the San Jose City Council seats up for grabs in the June primary.

The race to replace Mayor Sam Liccardo, who terms out at the end of the year, is poised to be the most heated and costly contest—the four frontrunners have collectively raised more than $2.5 million within five months of campaigning.

San Jose will also elect representatives for four council seats—Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7—which could potentially shake up the longstanding power split between business interests and labor unions on the City Council. Incumbent Councilmember Pam Foley is running unopposed in District 9.

At the county level, several candidates are vying for the Board of Supervisors District 1 seat to represent San Jose neighborhoods including Evergreen and Silver Creek, Coyote Valley and the cities of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. Incumbent Supervisor Susan Ellenberg is running unopposed in District 4.

The top county law enforcement job is also open, with incumbent Sheriff Laurie Smith not seeking reelection. Longtime Assessor Larry Stone is also facing one challenger this election.

Jump to a section: Mayor, District 1, District 3, District 5, District 7, District 9,  Santa Clara County District 1, Santa Clara County District 4, Sheriff, District Attorney, Assessor, PAC.

Local political action committees (PACs) will also play a key role this cycle. A San Jose mayoral candidate has gotten more than $1 million in PACs’ support this May, while others are scrambling to fight negative ads.

Per city rules, individuals must cap contributions at $700 per council candidate and $1,400 for mayoral candidates. Candidates can only fundraise between Dec. 9, 2021 and June 6. Candidates running in county races can fundraise year-round. The cap on contributions is $1,000. But there’s no spending limits for independent expenditures and PACs running political ads in support of or against candidates.

San José Spotlight is following the money and will update this page routinely. The data on candidates below is for the period of Dec. 9, 2021 through May 21. PACs spending will be updated daily until June 7.

Mayor

The race for San Jose mayor is expected to be the most contested—and expensive—competition this election.

Frontrunners include Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, as well as San Jose Councilmembers Dev Davis, Raul Peralez and Matt Mahan. Retired police officer Jim Spence is also in the race, and San Jose State student Marshall Woodmansee did not disclose any campaign filings.

District 1

Community leader Ramona Snyder, Santa Clara County Office of Education board member Rosemary Kamei and paratransit operator Tim Gildersleeve are all vying for the West San Jose district. Incumbent Vice Mayor Chappie Jones terms out next year.

Kamei has raised the most money since last December, bringing in more than $87,000.

District 3

Incumbent Councilmember Peralez, who has represented the downtown district for eight years, is terming out and running for San Jose’s mayoral seat. Five candidates have thrown their hats into the race, including business owner Irene Smith, attorney Joanna Rauh, San Jose-Evergreen Community College District trustee Omar Torres, attorney Elizabeth Chien-Hale and health care worker Ivan Torres.

Rauh has the backing of Liccardo and is leading the pack in fundraising, with roughly $108,000.

District 5

One of the most highly-anticipated and contested council races is the fight for the East San Jose seat in District 5. Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco terms out at the end of this year.

San Jose Planning Commission Chair Rolando Bonilla has continued to outraise others in the crowded race with more than $170,000. Others running include former Assemblymember Nora Campos, Santa Clara County Board of Education President Peter Ortiz, Alum Rock Union School District Board President Andres Quintero and community leader HG Nguyen.

District 7

Incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza is fighting to keep her seat in District 7. East Side Union High School District board member Van Le continues to be the fundraising frontrunner in the race, collecting more than $106,000. San Jose Fire Capt. Bien Doan is also vying for the seat.

District 9

District 9 Councilmember Pam Foley, elected into office in 2018, is running unopposed.

Santa Clara County Supervisor District 1 

With Supervisor Mike Wasserman terming out at the end of the year, five candidates are vying to replace him.

After the county adopted new political boundaries last year through redistricting, District 1 no longer has the conservative strongholds of Almaden Valley and Los Gatos within its borders. Local politicos see this as an opportunity for progressive candidates to take control of a seat held by conservative lawmakers since 1997.

Former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis has raised the most money, with more than $265,000 as of May. Others also vying for the seat include San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas, Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine, former political aide Denelle Fedor and Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Claudia Rossi.

Santa Clara County Supervisor District 4 

Incumbent Supervisor Susan Ellenberg has no challenger to her reelection campaign. Ellenberg was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2019.

Sheriff

Santa Clara County is getting a new sheriff for the first time in more than two decades, following Laurie Smith’s decision to not run for a seventh term.

Five candidates are jockeying for Smith’s seat, including sheriff Sgt. Sean Allen, business owner Anh Colton, retired sheriff Cpt. ​​Kevin Jensen, Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen, and sheriff Sgt. Christine Nagaye. Jensen is leading in fundraising after collecting more than $211,900.

Colton has not filed any campaign finance documents.

District Attorney

Incumbent District Attorney Jeff Rosen is facing two challengers—deputy public defender Sajid Khan and former Santa Clara County deputy DA Daniel Chung—for the first time since he was elected more than a decade ago. The incumbent leads in terms of fundraising, with more than $534,900 in campaign finances.

Assessor

Incumbent Larry Stone has been assessor of Santa Clara County for 27 years. He has outraised his challenger Andrew Crockett by more than five times—totaling roughly $341,000.

Political action committees

A dozen PACs are raising funds—and spending big—to support candidates in this year's election cycle. So far, five different PACs, including those backed by the San Francisco 49ers football team, San Jose’s police union and Bloom Energy executive Carl Guardino, have spent more than $1.1 million supporting Chavez’s mayoral campaign.

Formed by Liccardo, Common Good Silicon Valley, sponsored by Solutions Silicon Valley has also spent big on three candidates—Mahan for San Jose mayor, Rauh for District 3 and Doan for District 7. The committee, however, is facing legal questions after a formal complaint was filed days ahead of the election.

Several smaller PACs linked to a Southern California consulting firm have also popped up to support progressive candidates in San Jose District 3 and 5 and Santa Clara County Supervisor District 1.

 


Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.

Editor's Note: Perla Rodriguez, spouse of District 5 candidate Rolando Bonilla, sits on San José Spotlight's board of directors.

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