Omar Torres lead remains steady in San Jose District 3 race
Omar Torres is joined by his supporters on election night in downtown San Jose. Photo courtesy of Omar Torres.

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

    Omar Torres and Irene Smith remain ahead of the other three challengers — Joanna Rauh, Ivan Torres and Elizabeth Chien-Hale in the open seat for District 3, replacing Councilmember Raul Peralez who terms out in December.

    With 94% of the voted talled, and Omar Torres not over the 50% threshold to win the primary outright, he and Smith look to be heading into a Nov. 7 election runoff.

    Omar Torres leads with 44.06% of the vote, or 4,892 votes. Smith is next 19.99% of the vote, or 2,220 votes. Rauh has moved into the third spot with 15.21% of the vote, or 1,689 votes, with Chien-Hale falling into fourth position with 14.18% of the votes, or 1,574 votes.  Ivan Torres has 6.56% of the vote with 728 votes.

    “I’m confident that after this evening, it was the community that put us over the top, a community that I have been serving for well over 25 years,” Omar Torres said. “Who knows who I am and knows my record, and knows that I’m always standing next to them, whether it is at dumpster days or cleaning over graffiti.”

    Torres said he is confident he’ll stay in first place and said, “But it has never been about me. It’s always been about our community. It’s always been about our working class.”

    Irene Smith (second from left) is running for the District 3 council seat. She is currently in second place. Photo by Jana Kadah

    Irene Smith was shocked to be in second place.

    “The only comment I have is holy cow,” Smith told San José Spotlight. ” I think we better just buckle up because I think it’s still early.”

    Councilmember Pam Foley, who is running unopposed in District 9, stopped by Smith’s home, but said she has not endorsed anyone yet.

    “I am here to celebrate all the people who’ve made it through the election and now we’re here to celebrate their parties,” Foley said. “You can expect some endorsements from me after the primaries.”

    District 3 encompasses neighborhoods from Vendome and Naglee Park to Japantown and Spartan Keyes. It’s also home to San Jose State University and several theaters and music halls. As the city’s center,  homelessness, blight and small business closures are glaringly visible.

    Rauh, 40, an attorney for the accounting firm Deloitte, leads the legal team’s pro bono and philanthropic work. Her focus is on solving what she says is District 3 and San Jose’s top issue: homelessness.

    She is a Democrat who has received endorsements from Mayor Sam Liccardo, former Mayor Tom McEnery and the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. She has raised $108,444.

    Omar Torres, 40, calls himself a pragmatic progressive and a lifelong Democrat who received support from the South Bay Labor Council, mayoral candidate and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party and other local progressives. He has raised $73, 021.

    He has been part of the San Jose political scene for years, currently serving as a San Jose-Evergreen Community College District trustee, regional director in the California Democratic Party and the business resiliency manager of the San Jose Downtown Association. He was also Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco’s deputy chief of staff and had served in her office for seven years. He has raised $73,021.

    Smith, 61, is an independent with the support of the Silicon Valley Business PAC, small businesses like Casa Vicki and Peanuts, and nonprofit Families & Homes SJ. Her priorities include adding to the police force, small business revitalization and homelessness. She supports sanctioned encampments and social housing  She has raised $97,467.

    Chien-Hale, 60, is an intellectual property attorney who said her expertise in technology is an asset in solving city problems and bridging the private and public sectors. She is registered as No Party Preference and has received the endorsements of  Sunnyvale Councilmember and former Mayor Tony Spitaleri and Don Gagliardi, former District 3 candidate and attorney. She has raised $34,340.

    Ivan Torres, 38, is a health care worker turned candidate after volunteering with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. Torres is a progressive who has received endorsements from Berniecrats, a volunteer-run organization to support progressive candidates. He has not listed any contributions.

    Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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