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

    Silicon Valley voters this year will have their say on several key county positions, four San Jose City Council seats and three Santa Clara City Council posts as the November election draws close.

    The race to replace Mayor Sam Liccardo, who terms out at the end of the year, continues to be the most heated and costly contest—the two runoff candidates have collectively raised more than $4.5 million since last December.

    San Jose will also elect representatives for three council seats—Districts 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 won her reelection campaign in District 9, while school board member Rosemary Kamei won the race to represent District 1.

    In Santa Clara, three incumbents are fighting to keep their seats, including Mayor Lisa Gillmor. Councilmembers in District 2 and 3 are also seeking reelection.

    Two candidates are vying for the Santa Clara County 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 won her reelection campaign in District 4.

    The top county law enforcement job is also open, with incumbent Sheriff Laurie Smith not seeking reelection. Longtime Assessor Larry Stone and District Attorney Jeff Rosen both secured their jobs after being challenged in the June primary election.

    Jump to a section: Mayor, PAC spending in SJ, District 3, District 5, District 7, Santa Clara Mayor, PAC spending in SC, Santa Clara District 2, Santa Clara District 3,Santa Clara County District 1Sheriff.

    Local political action committees (PAC) have also played a key role this cycle. PAC spending in the San Jose mayoral race exceeded $4 million as of this month, while the 49ers football team has spent $3.8 million in the three Santa Clara races since September.

    Per San Jose’s rules, individuals must cap contributions at $700 per council candidate and $1,400 for mayoral candidates. Candidates can only fundraise between June 8 and Nov. 7.

    In Santa Clara, contributions are capped at $310 per individual. Candidates can choose to increase contributions to $610 per person, but that puts a spending limit on their campaigns.

    Candidates running in county races can fundraise year-round. The cap on contributions is $1,000. 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 Sept. 25 through Oct. 22. PAC spending has been updated through Oct. 27.


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

    Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan are vying for the seat after beating out four other candidates.

    PAC spending in SJ mayoral race

    More than half a dozen PACs are racing to spend money to sway voters on who should be the next leader of the 10th largest city in the nation. As of October, special interest groups have kicked in $4.4 million to boost their preferred candidate.

    District 3

    Incumbent Councilmember Peralez, who has represented the downtown district for eight years, is terming out. Two candidates, business owner Irene Smith and San Jose-Evergreen Community College District trustee Omar Torres are fighting for the seat.

    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.

    Former Assemblymember Nora Campos faces off Santa Clara County Board of Education President Peter Ortiz for the seat.

    District 7

    Incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza is fighting to keep her seat in District 7, as San Jose Fire Captain Bien Doan is also vying for the seat.

    Santa Clara Mayor

    Incumbent Lisa Gillmor is facing off against Councilmember Anthony Becker as she seeks reelection for a seat she’s held since 2016. Gillmor beat Becker in the 2018 race.

    PAC spending in Santa Clara mayoral race

    Executives of the 49ers football team are dropping staggering money to sway the three elections in Santa Clara. The PAC formed by the team has spent nearly $2 million in the mayoral race hoping to unseat the incumbent.

    Santa Clara District 2 

    In District 2, the area bordering Mineta San Jose International Airport, incumbent Councilmember Raj Chahal is seeking reelection. Chahal is being challenged by retired engineer Larry McColloch.

    Santa Clara District 3

    Incumbent Councilmember Karen Hardy is seeking reelection and fighting off challenger Christian Pellecchia.

    Santa Clara County Supervisor District 1 

    With Supervisor Mike Wasserman terming out at the end of the year, former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis and San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas are competing 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.


    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.

    Retired sheriff Cpt. ​​Kevin Jensen and former Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen beat out three other candidates and are facing off in the November election.

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

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