Poll: Candidate Matt Mahan leads San Jose City Council District 10 race
Photo courtesy of Matt Mahan.

A new poll obtained by San José Spotlight shows District 10 candidate Matt Mahan gaining steam in the open City Council race to replace Councilmember Johnny Khamis next year.

The poll, funded by Innovation for All, an independent expenditure committee organized by civic leaders Carl Guardino, Jim Cunneen and Edesa Bitbadal, shows Mahan doubling support from likely voters who were surveyed after being informed about the candidate’s backgrounds.

According to the poll, Mahan initially received 24 percent support for voters, but that figure doubled to 46 percent after voters heard biographical information about him. Although he wouldn’t comment on the poll’s results, Mahan said he was devoted to representing the interests of District 10 residents.

“I am singularly focused on giving voice to our neighborhoods,” Mahan told San José Spotlight on Wednesday. “When we bring the common sense of our neighbors to City Hall — we will make this city much more effective in addressing our core challenges, from homelessness to traffic gridlock to affordable housing.”

The recent online poll was split between two time frames, taking place Dec. 16-18, 2019, and Jan. 2-5, 2020.

The new poll, conducted by FM3 Research, surveyed 305 likely 2020 District 10 primary election voters. It found Republican businesswoman Helen Wang initially ranked second, earning 11 percent support, but fell to third with 12 percent support after voters heard biographical statements. Democrat Jenny Higgins Bradanini initially came in last place, according to the poll, earning 9 percent, but climbed to second place with 16 percent after voters heard about her background.


“I’ve been continually impressed by Matt Mahan’s commitment to improving his community while also strengthening our economy for everyone,” Guardino said. “Our committee is proud to organize this support for his campaign and we are heartened — although not surprised — to see his strong early lead.”

Although most voters are unfamiliar with the candidates — 56 percent are undecided in the race — the poll found Mahan has a name-recognition an advantage over his challengers.

The poll found that 26 percent of those surveyed have heard of Mahan, 16 percent have heard of Wang and 12 percent heard of Higgins Bradanini.

In terms of favorability, Mahan ranked first with 19 percent, Wang received 8 percent and Higgins Bradanini netted 4 percent from the voters surveyed.

“Overall, the poll shows Mahan is well positioned to win the District 10 City Council race,” said Dave Metz and Lucia Del Puppo of FM3 research. “He starts out the best-known and most favorably viewed, and holds a double-digit lead in the race. After additional positive information about all candidates, local voters view Mahan even more favorably and his lead expands dramatically.”

Tech entrepreneur Mahan, 36, originally from Watsonville, created Brigade, a platform for political and civic engagement. Mark Zuckerberg, a fellow former Harvard University student, persuaded Mahan to create his own company and blend a passion for politics and policy with technology. Mahan’s drive eventually led him to settle in the world’s most recognized tech hub, Silicon Valley.

Higgins Bradanini dismissed the poll results Wednesday and, if elected, vowed to work with San Jose lawmakers to protect Coyote Valley’s open space from development and to keep neighborhoods safe.

“When special interests want to support their cultivated candidate, they work to develop a narrative that puts their candidate at the top,” she told San José Spotlight. “I am not interested in knowing the results of a poll conducted by those same corporate interests that continue to support more taxes on our families and put profits before people.”

A longtime volunteer and active mother, raising nearly a million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Higgins Bradanini was also a policy aide for former Councilmember Don Rocha, before running for the District 10 seat.

Higgins Bradanini, president of Women’s March San Jose, revealed nearly a month ago that she was involved in the Dec. 16  fatal car collision that killed 66-year-old Tim Starkey. Although she was not arrested, the District Attorney’s office confirmed in an email that her case was still under investigation.

Wang, a longtime business owner and registered nurse, also could not be reached for comment. Wang worked in the medical field for more than 30 years, also serving on San Jose’s Small Business Task Force, the Tenant Protection Task Force in Milpitas and as president of the Silicon Valley Chinese Technology and Business Association (SVCTBA).

A former contender, financial adviser Vinh Do, ended his campaign weeks ago after revealing that his fiancée was sick and being tested for cancer.

Contact Nadia Lopez at nadia@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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