Nora Campos leads in race for East San Jose council seat
Former Assemblywoman Nora Campos announced her run for San Jose City Council's District 5 in October 2021. File photo.

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

Former state Assemblymember Nora Campos is leading the contested race to represent East San Jose for City Council District 5, with Santa Clara County Board of Education President Peter Ortiz following behind.

Campos is leading with 31.11% of the vote or 3,419 votes. Ortiz is in second with 22.48% of the vote with 2,470 votes. Approximately 94% of ballots have been counted.

Small business owner HG “Hang Giao” Nguyen is in third behind Ortiz with 17.12% of the vote, or 1,881 votes.

The other two candidates, San Jose Planning Commissioner Rolando Bonilla and Alum Rock Union School District Board President Andres Quintero, are trailing with 15.46% and 13.83% of the vote, respectively.

Campos is confident in advancing to the November election.

“I’m honored that voters in D5 believe in my platforms,” she told San José Spotlight. “It feels good to be in the top two.”

Ortiz did not respond to requests for comment.

Former Assemblywoman Nora Campos (second from left) with her family. Photo courtesy of Nora Campos.

With Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco terming out at the end of this year, longtime community leaders and politicos have jumped in the race to represent some of the most vulnerable populations in San Jose. The district includes the Alum Rock area with Mabury Road outlining its northern boundary and Reid-Hillview Airport to its southern border.

After last year’s redistricting process redrew political boundaries, District 5 in East San Jose is home to more than 100,000 people—with roughly 40.5% of voters being Latino and 38.2% Asian.

Campos, a Democrat running for her old seat, has endorsements from South Bay Labor Council and state Sen. Dave Cortese. She previously served on the City Council between 2001 and 2010. Campos, 56, wants to see more resources for small businesses, more police on East San Jose streets, more housing and more city officials who could help streamline those efforts. She has raised $102,284 as of May.

Ortiz, 32, wants to address the thinly-staffed police department, growing homelessness crisis and rising cost of housing. Ortiz saw his criminal history dug up during this election, though he did not face backlash like Bonilla did with the resurfacing of 20-year-old allegations of domestic abuse. Ortiz, a Democratic candidate, has the support of state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, former state Sen. Jim Beall and South Bay Labor Council, which has spent money to boost his campaign. He has brought in $69,470 in contributions.

Bonilla said the first round of results, which placed him in last place, were to be expected.

“(Others) have the name recognition,” he told San José Spotlight. “If this is the fourth or fifth round, it’d be a different story. We knew this is going to be a long fight.”

San Jose Planning Commissioner and District 5 City Council candidate Rolando Bonilla speaks with supporters at an election night campaign party. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

Bonilla, a Democrat, said the most consequential city policy is the budget. He calls for more police and more homeless services in the area. The 44-year-old candidate has been at the center of controversy this election. He has the support of state Sen. Josh Becker and San Jose Councilmembers Sergio Jimenez and David Cohen. Bonilla has raised $170,753 and contended with a negative ad campaign funded by labor unions.

Nguyen, a community leader of many years, puts families on the East side at the center of her campaign. She produces a popular Vietnamese radio show and has the support of Nguyen Khac Binh, major general of the armed forces of the former Republic of Vietnam, and retired Lt. Col. John Swensson. She has raised roughly $9,736.

Quintero, an Alum Rock Union School District trustee for a decade, wants to address public safety, quality of life and housing. He has endorsements from Assemblymembers Evan Low and Marc Berman, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Supervisor Cindy Chavez. Quintero, a Democrat, has raised $58,195 to support his campaign.

Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter. 

Editor’s Note: Perla Rodriguez, spouse of District 5 candidate Rolando Bonilla, sits on San José Spotlight’s board of directors.

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