Powerful PAC supports several San Jose candidates
Newly-appointed District 10 San Jose Councilmember Arjun Batra shakes hands with Mayor Matt Mahan on Jan. 26, 2023. Photo by Jana Kadah.

A political action committee that supports local pro-business candidates has announced its endorsements for next year’s San Jose City Council and mayoral elections.

Silicon Valley Biz PAC is putting its weight behind incumbent Mayor Matt Mahan for another term leading the city. For the council seats, the Biz PAC is endorsing Joe Lopez, a retired sheriff’s deputy, for the District 2 seat, incumbent Councilmember David Cohen in District 4 and real estate investor Michael Mulcahy in District 6. The group is backing engineer Sukhdev Bainiwal in District 8, and is dually endorsing incumbent Councilmember Arjun Batra and Planning Commissioner George Casey in District 10.

“It’s time to focus on supporting candidates that prioritize the needs of business owners all around San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley, and we are confident that these candidates will champion those issues,” Victor Gomez, executive director of the Silicon Valley Biz PAC, said in a statement.

Mahan, who picked up the Biz PAC endorsement last year, is a first time-mayor serving a shortened two-year term after being elected in 2022 due to a ballot measure moving San Jose’s mayoral elections from the gubernatorial cycle to the presidential cycle. Mahan has the opportunity to serve two four-year terms—for a total of 10 years in office.

“I’m honored to have the support of an organization that advocates tirelessly for our small and local businesses as we continue to focus on getting City Hall back to basics,” Mahan told San José Spotlight.

Mahan is facing only one opponent in his bid for reelection: Tyrone Wade, a former marriage and family crisis counselor who used to run a homeless shelter. There is no labor-backed candidate in the race, though labor candidates are well-represented in the council races.

The Biz PAC has spent big in recent elections, including throwing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Mahan in the 2022 election. The PAC also receives funding from former Mayor Sam Liccardo’s advocacy group Solutions Silicon Valley.

Biz PAC-backed Lopez is one of four candidates vying for terming out District 2 Councilmember Sergio Jimenez’s seat.

Lopez previously told San José Spotlight the city needs to reshuffle its spending to allow for hiring of more police officers. Lopez is a member of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and was in law enforcement for 35 years.

He’s facing off with Jimenez’s chief of staff Vanessa Sandoval, business owner Babu Prasad, and Pamela Campos, policy director for a national nonprofit.

In District 4, Cohen is facing off with Kansen Chu, a former councilmember and state assemblymember. Cohen previously ran as a labor-backed candidate, though some of his policies cost him a labor endorsement. He later picked up the backing of the Biz PAC, however.

In District 6, Mulcahy, a longtime real estate investor, is going up against Olivia Navarro, an insurance agent and political advisor, Alex Shoor, the executive director of housing advocacy group Catalyze SV, and retired Marine Amatangelo “Angelo” Pasciuti. Incumbent Dev Davis is terming out.

Bainiwal is looking to take the District 8 seat from incumbent Councilmember Domingo Candelas, who was appointed to fill the seat in January. Also in the race are Tam Troung, a San Jose Police Department sergeant, and Surinder “Suri” Kaur Dhaliwal.

In District 10, Batra is looking to hold onto the seat he was appointed to in January. He is sharing the Biz PAC endorsement with Casey, a San Jose planning commissioner who unsuccessfully sought the council seat appointment. Also in the race is Lenka Wright, a former broadcast journalist turned communications director for Mountain View.

“All of these candidates have demonstrated a commitment to making San Jose a better place to live and do business,” Tracey Enfantino, Silicon Valley Biz PAC chair, said in a statement. “We are proud to endorse them because of their strong commitment of cutting red tape, overseeing our tax dollars, and working to ensure employers can continue to grow their businesses in San Jose.”

Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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