Santa Clara County Sheriff’s race remains close with between Jonsen and Jensen
Former Palo Alto Police Chief Bob Jonsen leading on the race for Santa Clara County Sheriff. Photo courtesy of Jonsen.

    Last updated 5 p.m. on Monday. The next update will be 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

    In the race for county sheriff, former Palo Alto Police Chief Robert “Bob” Jonsen and retired captain for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Kevin Jensen are the top contenders with 94% of the vote tallied.

    Jonsen still leads with 32.12% of the vote, or 94,215 votes. Jensen remains close with 30.49% or 89,414 votes. Sheriff Sgt. Christine Nagaye is trailing in third with 19.30% of the vote or 56,591 votes. Behind Nagaye is Sheriff Sgt. Sean Allen with 13.74% or 40,289 votes. In last place is business owner Anh Colton, with 12,779 votes or 4.36% of the vote.

    Asked by San José Spotlight how he feels, Jonsen said, “Encouraged but still a long way to go.”

    Jonsen, 59, spent the last four years working as police chief in Palo Alto. Before that, he was chief of police in Menlo Park for five years. He spent the bulk of his career—27 years—in the LA County Sheriff’s Department, retiring as captain of Lancaster Station. Jonsen said he has experience stabilizing organizations bleeding staff, noting he helped staunch the flow of people leaving the Menlo Park and Palo Alto police departments, in part by raising salaries to a competitive level.

    Jensen, 58, tried to unseat Smith in 2014 but lost the election. Jensen retired captain for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office after serving more than three decades in various roles in both the jail and Sheriff’s Office. He began his career in the county in the mid-1980s working as a correctional officer at Elmwood Correctional Facility.

    This evening he is in second place, chatting with a gaggle of supporters at The San Jose Police Officers Association Hall as a Calypso band jammed out in the background.

    “We thought that having so many candidates would end up with the current top 2 moving in to November,” Jensen told San José spotlight. ” We are grateful to be in the best organizational and financial position going into November, and are grateful for the widespread bipartisan support that we believe will lead us to getting the opportunity to make the positive changes I’ve been fighting for for over a decade. “

    Jensen won the most significant endorsements of the race: the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Santa Clara County and the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association. He has also been endorsed by former county Supervisor Blanca Alvarado. As of April, Jensen has raised more than $200,000.

    The next best funded campaign is that of Robert Jonsen, the 59-year-old police chief of Palo Alto. Jonsen has worked in Palo Alto for four years, and before that he served five years as Menlo Park Police Chief. Jonsen worked 27 years in the La County Sheriff’s Office, retiring as captain of Lancaster Station.

    Jonsen, a registered Democrat, has been endorsed by former state Sen. Jim Bell, the Democratic Asian Pacific American Club and the Sunnyvale Democratic Club. As of April, he has raised over $66,000.

    Behind Jonsen is Sgt. Christine Nagaye, who has worked in the department for 20 years. She has spent seven years as a supervising sergeant and previously worked in the office’s operational standards and inspections unit and at the Elmwood and main jail. Nagaye is a veteran of the U.S. military, having served five year as a combat medic and training officer.

    Nagaye, 51, is a registered Democrat and has been endorsed by the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley. As of April, she has raised $47,183.

    Sgt. Sean Allen, also running to replace Smith, has worked in the department for almost 30 years. Allen, 52, has mostly worked in the jail system. He previously served as a board member of the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association and is the founder of Lodge 65 of the Fraternal Order of Police in California.

    Allen, a registered Democrat, has been endorsed by Reverend Jeff Moore, former president of the Silicon Valley NAACP, and several retired sheriff employees. According to his latest campaign statement, Allen has received over $8,000 in contributions.

    The last candidate, business owner Anh Colton, is a latecomer to the race. There is little publicly available information about Colton, who declined to speak with San José Spotlight. Colton is not a law enforcement officer and it’s unclear if she would qualify for office. California law requires county sheriffs to have experience as certified law enforcement officers.

    Contact Eli Wolfe at [email protected] or @EliWolfe4 on Twitter.

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