Here’s who’s running for San Jose City Council and mayor
Residents cast ballots at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Nov. 8, 2022. File photo.

In about three months, San Jose residents will go to the ballot box to pick their next councilmembers and mayor. While the city’s top seat is up for grabs, most of the money and focus will be on council races this election season.

Half of the San Jose City Council’s seats—all the even-numbered districts—are up for election this cycle, as well as Mayor Matt Mahan’s seat. Districts 2 and 6 are open seats, with current officeholders terming out, while Districts 4, 8 and 10 have incumbents running for reelection: David Cohen, Domingo Candelas and Arjun Batra, respectively. The primary is set for March 5, 2024.

With nearly half the 11-member council potentially changing, results could shift power back toward business interests or further strengthen labor’s majority. San Jose is generally divided between two political powerhouses—the business lobby and labor unions— with labor-aligned leaders maintaining a majority in the last election.

Still, labor’s political prowess will be noticeably absent in the mayor’s race with no labor-backed candidate in the running.

The top two vote-getters in each race will head to a runoff in November, unless one candidate wins by more than 50% in March.

Here’s a roundup of San Jose candidates running in the primary:


Mahan, first elected to the council in 2020, won his bid to become the 66th mayor of San Jose in November 2022 after more than a year of campaigning.

Voters elected him to a two-year term, with a successful ballot measure moving the mayoral election from the gubernatorial cycle to the presidential cycle. That means Mahan has the opportunity to serve two more full four-year terms—for a total of 10 years.

The only competitor is Tyrone Wade, a former marriage and family crisis counselor who used to run a homeless shelter.

Wade wants to implement criminal justice reform, including community policing and a review of the San Jose Police Department’s use of force policy. Wade’s first priority would be to reform the child protective services system, he previously told San José Spotlight. He secured less than 3% of the vote in his first bid for mayor in 2018 and failed to qualify for the primary ballot in 2022.

District 2

With Councilmember Sergio Jimenez terming out, four candidates are vying to represent District 2, which stretches from the border of Morgan Hill up to a portion of South San Jose, ending at Sylvandale Avenue.

Babu Prasad, who works in the admitting department at Kaiser Permanente and runs several small businesses, was the first candidate to declare for the South San Jose seat in May. Prasad serves as president of the District 2 Leadership Council and president of the Hayes Neighborhood Association. His priorities are tackling homelessness, increasing public safety and supporting training and pathways for local businesses.

Vanessa Sandoval, Jimenez’s chief of staff, is also hoping to continue serving District 2. As a mobile home resident, Sandoval’s chief concern is affordability—particularly for housing. She also wants to expand the police department, find police alternatives for some public safety calls and beef up environmental protections for open spaces like Coyote Valley.

Pamela Campos is the third candidate—and a native San Jose resident—to join the District 2 race. While Campos has not run for an elected position before, she is vice chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Policy Advisory Council. Her priorities are affordability, transportation, public safety, economic development and climate resilience.

Joe Lopez, retired deputy sheriff and a more conservative candidate in the race, is also running. He unsuccessfully challenged Jimenez in 2018, securing 22.8% of the vote. Lopez’s goal is to make San Jose the safest city and wants to focus on cleaning up blight, addressing crime and reducing street homelessness. He also wants to balance the budget, as San Jose faces a looming deficit  in the next couple of years. He won the Silicon Valley Biz PAC’s endorsement.

District 4

Councilmember David Cohen is seeking re-election to represent North San Jose for another four years. He beat out incumbent Lan Diep in 2020, switching the council’s business-majority to one that favored labor. But during his term, he voted for some policies contrary to the South Bay Labor Council’s platform, and it cost him its endorsement. Instead, he won the Silicon Valley Biz PAC’s endorsement.

The labor council is instead giving an open endorsement to both Cohen and his challenger Kansen Chu, a former councilmember and assemblymember. Chu told San José Spotlight his platform will focus on public safety, homelessness and housing and city parks and recreation services—including community centers and libraries offering programs for seniors and children.

District 6

Councilmember Dev Davis is terming out—and there are four candidates running to represent District 6, which encompasses Willow Glen, The Alameda and parts of downtown.

Lifelong San Jose resident Olivia Navarro—labor’s pick for the seat—works as an insurance agent and political adviser for the LIUNA Local 270 union. She wants to prioritize public safety and finding solutions to the growing housing and homeless crisis through a working families lens—in addition to attracting high-paying jobs to bolster the region’s economic development.

Alex Shoor, executive director of Catalyze SV, an organization that works with residents and community leaders on transportation and housing solutions, said affordable housing and development will be one of his top priorities if elected. He has been a recognizable force in helping shape housing policy in the Bay Area and has served on the San Jose Housing and Community Development Commission for eight years.

Amatangelo “Angelo” Pasciuti recently moved to San Jose after 21 years of military service took him to 35 countries and is looking for another opportunity to serve. After retiring from the Marine Corps this year, he unsuccessfully sought a seat on the San Clemente City Council in May before moving back to his native South Bay in September. His campaign is focused on homelessness, housing affordability and public safety.

Michael Mulcahy, a native of San Jose, prominent Willow Glen real estate investor and former mayoral candidate, is also running. Through his family company SDS NexGen Partners, Mulcahy has invested in myriad properties along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Willow Glen to revamp the area. He said his priorities as a councilmember would be to provide better support for small businesses and entrepreneurs, hiring more police in an effort to boost public safety and reducing homelessness and blight. He is the pick of the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

District 8 

Councilmember Domingo Candelas is running to keep his District 8 seat after being appointed in January. Three others are looking to take his spot.

Candelas, born and raised in District 8, said his priorities have been increasing the city’s affordable housing stock, expanding public transit and providing more child care services. He’s also added park upgrades to the list—a concern he heard about from residents in the last year. He secured the labor endorsement.

Sukhdev Bainiwal is an engineer, former city airport commissioner and longtime director on the board of the Sikh Gurdwara of San Jose. His top priorities are to address homelessness, affordability and economic vibrancy—winning him an endorsement from the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

Tam Truong is a San Jose Police Department sergeant. He said the city’s main issues—and his top priorities—are housing, homelessness and public safety. His main focus areas for the district are traffic-related fatalities and improving the road infrastructure, as well as economic development in vacant commercial centers.

Surinder “Suri” Kaur Dhaliwal, also known as Surinder Kaur Sagha, is a retired executive assistant for major tech companies and neighborhood mom who is hoping to curb city vices, like smoking and gambling, increase public safety and address unsheltered homelessness.

District 10

Councilmember Arjun Batra is running for District 10 after being appointed in January. Batra filled the open seat vacated by then-Councilmember Mahan when he won the mayoral election.

Batra is a retired Intel executive and software engineer who forayed into government a few years ago after working for former Mayor Sam Liccardo’s office of technology and innovation. He is a more business-leaning voice on council—focused on increasing the city’s housing stock, improving public transit and addressing public safety, particularly around schools.

San Jose Planning Commissioner George Casey is facing off against Batra once again after unsuccessfully applying for the council-appointed seat in January. Casey said his priorities are public safety and homelessness. He said housing is the remedy to many of San Jose’s issues, and wants to provide incentives such as down payment assistance or rent-to-own policies for police officers and city employees so they can live where they work.

Batra and Casey secured a dual endorsement from the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

Former broadcast journalist turned communications director for Mountain View Lenka Wright is also eyeing the seat. If elected, her priorities will be public safety, quality of life and homelessness. She believes the solution to homelessness is a multi-pronged approach that combines affordable housing, as well as quick-fix, temporary solutions to alleviate what she says is a “humanitarian crisis.” She has the support of the South Bay Labor Council.

Nooran Bayzaie, Batra’s former legislative aide who was fired because of his intentions to run, has dropped out of the race.

Contact Jana at [email protected] or follow @Jana_Kadah on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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