Mahan still leads in fundraising for San Jose mayoral race
San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan announced his mayoral campaign in September 2021. File photo.

As San Jose’s mayoral race heats up, campaign fundraising is following suit with the four leading candidates collectively raising more than $1.4 million in one month.

Three councilmembers—Dev Davis, Matt Mahan and Raul Peralez—and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez are all vying for the job.

All contributions and donor information are based on campaign filings as of Jan. 31, for the period between Dec. 9-31. Donations to mayoral candidates are capped at $1,400 per individual.

To date, Mahan is the leading fundraiser, with 894 donors contributing $504,169 in December. As of Tuesday, Mahan has surpassed 1,000 total donors. Contributions to Mahan’s campaign averaged $548 per person, and he reported spending almost $48,000 on the race.

“The powerful showing in our fundraising efforts shows the growing demand for greater common-sense from government at every level,” Mahan told San José Spotlight. “Voters are tired of the old excuses from the entrenched politicians.”

Mahan opposes SB 9 and on issues such as mental health, he pushed the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to not opt-out of assisted outpatient treatment, also known as Laura’s Law. The law requires mandatory mental health treatment under a judge’s orders for those suffering from severe mental illness. Mahan wants the city to invest in addiction and mental health treatment and expand cost-effective shelters for the unhoused.

Chavez raised $479,346 through the month of December, and reported spending almost $43,000 on the race. Of the 730 major donors, contributions averaged $630 per person. Chavez has 963 donors in all, with 233 contributing $100 or less, said Ed McGovern, a political consultant for Chavez.

The campaign is “pretty happy” with the results, McGovern said, as they expected to raise $400,000 and exceeded that amount. Chavez will continue to fundraise toward a goal of $1 million by June. Chavez returned six donations which exceeded the $1,400 limit.

Known for her support of local labor movements and roots in Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay Labor Council, Chavez said she doesn’t favor SB 9, which allows property owners to build additional units in single-family neighborhoods, because it will not help renters, and cannot be effectively monitored.

She also opposes noncitizen voting rights because the policy paper is too broad. She previous told San José Spotlight, “I have a long history of fighting for real paths to citizenship for those in our community who seek that goal.”

Peralez, who was the first candidate to announce his intentions to run for the 2022 mayoral seat, is the son of an immigrant and the first of his family to graduate from college. Peralez is the only candidate to voice support for SB 9. Davis and Mahan joined Chavez in opposing the controversial state housing bill. 

Peralez raised about $267,544 through contributions averaging $647 per person across 397 donors. He’s spent the least amount on the race to date, about $16,000.

“We are very pleased with our fundraising numbers and are looking forward to the next few months,” he told San José Spotlight. “I’m happy with where I’m at and confident we’ll raise sufficient funds to run a successful race.”

Peralez and Chavez are competing for the labor vote. He said he differs from Mayor Liccardo on how the city budget and services should be allocated, especially for residents most in need. He also supports a recently approved ordinance requiring residents who own firearms to maintain liability insurance and pay an annual fee for gun harm reduction services.

Davis, the fourth candidate in the race, votes with the city’s business interests. Davis wants to tackle homelessness and help the city recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her goals are to reduce government red tape for affordable housing projects and increase staffing for the police department. 

Davis raised $169,971 for the mayoral race. She had 223 donors with contributions averaging $669 per person. Davis spent a little more than $42,000 on the race.

“Our poll puts us in a very good position,” she told San José Spotlight. “Since the poll, there have been two major votes at council that have caused a surge of contributions and supporters for me (noncitizen voting and gun control measures). Money doesn’t always win elections. This is about the people of San Jose and what they care about, not about who can raise the most money.”

Three lesser known candidates—Former Nevada congressional candidate Jonathan Royce Esteban, former marriage counselor Tyrone Wade and political unknown Brian Smith—have yet to disclose their campaign finances.

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]

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