After a long and at-times grueling campaign season, South Bay voters on Tuesday headed to more than a hundred vote centers to fulfil their civic duty, casting votes at the top of the ticket for president down to the consequential San Jose City races that could shake things up at City Hall.
San Jose City Councilmember Dev Davis netted a slim lead over her three challengers when polls closed hours ago — but by midnight on Tuesday, the District 6 lawmaker fell to fell to 49 percent of the vote, sending her to a November runoff with biomedical engineer Jake Tonkel.
As of midnight, Davis’ slim 50 percent lead dropped below the majority threshold as her three challengers gained steam. Tonkel came in second with 27 percent of the vote. San Jose Housing Commissioner Ruben Navarro was at 17 percent and college student Marshall Woodmansee trailed with 7 percent of the vote.
The latest results in the San Jose City Council District 10 race put Matt Mahan in a comfortable lead to win the race without a runoff. Mahan, a tech entrepreneur, celebrated netting nearly 60 percent of the vote with a group of supporters at Amato Pizza in south San Jose. It’s the same place he kicked off his campaign nearly a year ago.
Though Mahan hardly ate a bite as he eagerly awaited election results, cautiously optimistic about his win.
“We’re feeling good about the position we’re in, and I’m extremely grateful for all the support our campaign got from the community,” Mahan said.
He called Mayor Sam Liccardo a “mentor” and said it was a privilege to win his endorsement.
Measure E in San Jose has a slim lead
With two rounds of election results posted, San Jose’s Measure E, which would enact a permanent property tax to fund affordable housing, appears to be passing with a slim 51 percent.
“We’re all excited and we hope that it will prevail,” Mayor Sam Liccardo, a supporter of the measure, told San José Spotlight at a small watch party Tuesday night. He remained cautiously optimistic about the measure. “We know that because of the way the turnout game works, we know that it was very low Democratic turnout early on, so we expect it will probably not be great news early on in the night.”
The tax, which needs a simple majority to pass, is expected to generate at least $73 million in annual revenue for affordable housing projects and homeless prevention programs.
To ensure the money, which will be pooled into the city’s general fund, is spent on affordable housing, the mayor outlined a strict spending plan that calls for strong accountability and transparency measures, requiring a 60-day notice and at least two public hearings before any funds can be shifted from the city’s annual spending plan.
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors results
In the open race to succeed Supervisor Dave Cortese, two popular candidates appear to be headed to a November runoff.
Assemblymember Kansen Chu led with 34 percent of the vote, followed by former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee who earned 28 percent. San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco is in third place with 24 percent and former San Jose Planning Commissioner John Leyba trails with 14 percent.
Lee said he’s worked 14 months on the campaign and he’s “happy” with the results.
“It’s something that we hoped for,” he said.
In the Senate District 15 race, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese led the race with 33 percent, followed by former FEC chair Ann Ravel with 19 percent and former Assemblymember Nora Campos with 14 percent.
“We worked very hard for that lead and a lot of people put a lot of time into it so in one sense it is not surprising,” Cortese told San José Spotlight. “But I’m very, very happy with where we’re at. We started off this race last spring, according to one of the pollsters in the race, we had a double digit lead and really a lot of the work was to try to communicate with over 300,000 voters and to try to hold onto that natural lead that we had.”
Robert Howell received 14 percent, followed by San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis with 11 percent.
Ken Del Valle and Tim Gildersleeve trailed with less than 8 percent.
San Jose City Council results
With the first round of election results posted shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, several San Jose City Council races appeared to be in a close tie.
In San Jose’s District 2, Councilmember Sergio Jimenez garnered 53 percent of the vote, while his challenger Jonathan Fleming netted 47 percent.
“I think it confirms the work we’ve been doing over the past 3 years, the majority of folks feel that we’ve been moving the district in a positive direction,” Jimenez said, “and there’s still much work that has to be done and I’m honored to get another opportunity to Continue serving the residents of District 2.”
In San Jose’s District 4, where Councilmember Lan Diep faces three challengers, David Cohen leads with 38 percent, followed by Diep, who got 35 percent, Huy Tran with 22 percent and Jamal Khan netted 6 percent.
“He raised a lot of money,” Cohen said of Diep. “This shows that money doesn’t matter. Look at where the money is coming from — we have more support in the district.”
Despite trailing the two frontrunner, Tran, who won widespread support from labor leaders and housing activists, wore a “celebratory outfit” and said he’s grateful for the support of his volunteers and community.
“We’re celebrating tonight because it’s a win,” he said. “It’s a win for the people of San Jose. It’s a win because we put people in front of profits. The night is not done yet, but we’re proud of everything that’s happened.”
In San Jose’s District 6, Councilmember Dev Davis received 51 percent of the vote, while her challengers Jake Tonkel netted 26 percent, Ruben Navarro received 15 percent while Marshall Woodmansee trailed with 7 percent.
“I remain cautiously optimistic because you never know how things will turn out,” Davis said, reacting to her lead of more than 50 percent late Tuesday. “I want to keep serving District 6, so it’s a relief.”
In the contentious District 8 council race, Councilmember Sylvia Arenas led her lone challenger, Jim Zito, by 56 percent. Zito received 44 percent of the vote.
In San Jose’s District 10, Matt Mahan received 60 percent of the vote, followed by Helen Wang with 23 percent and Jenny Higgins Bradanini with 17 percent.
“I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions, but it’s a great start,” Mahan told San José Spotlight. “I’m just feeling extremely grateful for our amazing campaign team, all of our volunteers and all the people in the community that stepped forward and opened their homes and engaged their neighbors.”
—Katie Lauer and Nadia Lopez
Polls close in 15 minutes and San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis, who is running for state Senate District 15, gathered with dozens of supporters at Bossman Pizza in South San Jose.
The longtime lawmaker said he was feeling good about his campaign and the soon-to-be-released results.
“I can say very comfortably that we’ve given it our all and there’s nothing more we could have done,” he said. “So I’m just hoping that the votes go our way.”
With less than three hours left until polls close in Santa Clara County, elections officials say more than 28,000 voters have already cast a ballot at one of the county’s 110 vote centers today. The most popular new vote center was at San Jose State University.
“The bulk of (the votes) is going to be today,” Registrar of Voters’ spokesman Eric Kurhi told San José Spotlight. “At San Jose State University, we’ve had about a thousand total, over all the days, but about 600 of those (votes) were today.”
There’s been a “particularly large” number of voters who registered today, he added, thanks to the state’s new legislation that allows same-day voter registration. Kurhi said there were no major problems with the new voting machines this year.
For the first time, San Jose State University in downtown San Jose was the site of a vote center and more than 100 students lined up by mid-afternoon to cast their votes. The line continued to grow throughout the day, as students made their way to the library vote center, many of them on scooters and skateboards.
Student activists stood near the vote site at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and encouraged their fellow classmates to vote.
Meanwhile, supporters for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stood nearby shouting their support for the Vermont senator who appears to be leading the race to win the Democratic nomination. Sanders has won 60 delegates so far, but former Vice President Joe Biden trails him with 54 delegates.
Fourteen states, including California, will vote on Super Tuesday, with 1,300 delegates up for grabs. It is the first time former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who was endorsed by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, will be on the ballot.
SJSU student Peter Parker, 20, said he was voting for the first time Tuesday because he felt it was “important to contribute to the community.”
“It’s something that’s important for all the students to do,” he said. “Last year, we saw how the election went down. Students should vote this year to make a difference. I don’t want Trump to win. We’re out here to do our best.”
Not far from Parker, student Sham Madhvani just finished casting his ballot in his first election. Having a vote center on campus made the process quick and convenient, he said, despite waiting in line.
“As everyone is voting today, it makes it fun,” said Madhvani, 18. “It’s important for the future and making these kinds of decisions is a healthy start in putting your beliefs into votes for what we want to see in the future.” He also said that there are things his vote can help improve in the City of Milpitas, so it was important to him to vote.
Santa Clara County elections officials are reporting a 45 to 55 percent turnout so far for Super Tuesday. By noon, more than 11,000 voters had flocked to vote centers across the county, and more than 21,000 have voted since all vote centers opened on Saturday.
Officials say more than 215,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been received so far. No technical problems or voting machine malfunctions have been reported.
There are 22 measures on the primary ballot, including both local and state education funding issues.
Already, more than 142,000 ballots in Santa Clara County have been returned either by mail or through the vote centers. This year, for the first time, voters here can cast a ballot at any of the 110 vote centers as opposed to assigned precincts. The vote centers opened on Saturday and will remain open until 8 p.m. tonight.
About 40 people trickled into the vote center at Santa Teresa High School just after polls opened Tuesday morning. Among them was high school senior Maya, who declined to provide a last name.
She voted for the first time.
“Every vote counts,” she said.
Another first in Santa Clara County: Last month, every vote received a vote-by-mail ballot as part of the county’s shift to comply with the Voter’s Choice Act. Prior to the changes, some 80 percent of voters in Santa Clara County already opted to vote by mail in past elections.
“We have been saying that Election Day is more like Election Week, and now we are heading into the home stretch,” said Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey. “We have already seen more than 15 percent of the over 950,000 ballots we sent out come back in, either through mail, drop box or through one of our Vote Centers. That’s a lot of voters taking advantage of early voting opportunities and we urge voters to continue to do so over the weekend.”
Sarah Kates-March, a school principal, said she cast a ballot Tuesday morning because she wanted to support Measure E, a San Jose initiative that would enact a permanent transfer tax on property sales of $2 million or more in the city for affordable housing.
“I vote yes on anything that supports schools and people,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that in our area where we have such a concentration of wealth that we have such a disparity. I don’t know if this is the answer but we always have to be looking for solutions. It’s a community problem and we have to solve it as a community.”
Campbell resident Amy Moreland, who works for a nonprofit, came out to vote for president. “I want to help my party, which is the Democratic party, to rally behind a single candidate to ensure we don’t have four more years of Trump,” she said.
Voting site lead Jim Brunton said most people at his vote center Tuesday morning stopped by to drop off completed vote-by-mail ballots — and not to vote using the machines.
To find a vote center near you, click here. Vote centers opened at 7 a.m. this morning and will close at 8 p.m.
Anyone wanting to drop off their vote-by-mail ballot can do so at a vote center or an additional drop-off location. Find all the locations by clicking here.
Not registered to vote? The California Legislature approved same-day voting, which means you can change your party status, register or re-register to vote as any vote center.
Our San José Spotlight team is on the ground throughout the South Bay and will bring you the latest updates and results, as well as a peek inside the candidates’ watch parties. Follow along with the LIVE BLOG on this page and on our Twitter account.