Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran enters California Assembly race
Photo courtesy of Milpitas

    Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran is dropping out of a local supervisorial race to run for state Assembly in an effort to replace Kansen Chu, who announced earlier this month that he’ll run for Santa Clara County Supervisor.

    Tran broke the big news on Facebook early Wednesday morning. The young mayor said he decided in December to run for county supervisor to replace Supervisor Dave Cortese in 2020 — what seemed like an obvious next step for higher office — but his outlook changed when Chu told San José Spotlight that he’s planning to leave the Assembly to enter that race.

    The two politicians had a long phone call to discuss the political shuffle, and Tran ended up bowing out of the supervisorial race Wednesday, a move expected by some local political observers. Now he has his sight set on higher office.

    “It is a natural seat where I can continue to advocate for working families throughout the Valley,” Tran posted. “Things were looking pretty good until I received a call a couple weeks ago from our State Assemblymember Kansen Chu. Over the phone, past 10pm on a weekday, he expressed his intent to also run for County Supervisor. For 30 minutes, we talked about many reasons why he was going to run in a race that I was also in, and for 30 minutes I understood why he wanted to come home from Sacramento.”

    Politics has been a heckuva journey over the past several years. Running for City Council and getting runner-up in 2014….

    Posted by Mayor Rich Tran on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    As a result of the switch, Tran has now decided to try succeeding Chu in the the state’s 25th Assembly District.

    Chu said Wednesday that he was unaware of Tran switching races, and clearing the way for him in the supervisor’s race. Chu called the decision “great news for my campaign.”

    “He has not talked to me on this decision,” Chu told San José Spotlight. “Mayor Tran and I share a huge number of friends and supporters. Mayor Tran is a very smart and righteous person who has strong desire to represent and work hard for a diverse community like we have in Santa Clara. He is a friend and definitely not the candidate that I would like to face in the runoff election.”

    Tran will join a field of other hopefuls including longtime education trustee Anna Song.

    Song said Wednesday that she is “not at all” worried about Tran entering the race.

    “With 20 years as an elected official, I believe I’m the most experienced person for the position. I’ve fulfilled my promise to the voters to serve my elected term each time I’ve been elected,” said Song, who serves as vice president of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. “My district encompasses most of the Assembly District, so voters throughout the district know my name. And finally, with not a single Asian American woman in the Assembly and not a single woman in the Legislature from the Peninsula, I believe that must change and I am the candidate to bring about that change.”

    Tran, 34, who was re-elected Milpitas mayor last year, said on Wednesday that he’s “100% committed to the Assembly” race. He will throw his support behind Chu — who he called a friend and mentor — in the county supervisor race.

    Chu will face off with a handful of others vying to replace Cortese next year, including San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, San Jose Planning Commissioner John Leyba and former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee.

    “He’s got the leadership to serve Milpitas and Santa Clara County,” Tran wrote on Facebook. “Instead of running for the same seat, grounding and pounding through campaign season, I have made the decision to show my respect for someone that has done very much for many.”

    The 25th Assembly District covers portions of Alameda and Santa Clara counties, including the cities of San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Fremont and Newark.

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