San Jose Councilmember Candelas leads in early results for District 8
San Jose Councilmember Domingo Candelas is pictured at his election night party. Photo courtesy of Domingo Candelas campaign.

San Jose Councilmember Domingo Candelas is celebrating his election lead in early returns.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the incumbent is leading the race for the District 8 seat on the San Jose City Council with 39.4% of the vote. Tam Truong is in second with 32.5% of the vote, Sukhdev Bainiwal is trailing with 25.6% of the vote and Surinder “Suri” Kaur Dhaliwal has 2.3%.

The results include a voter turnout of about 37.3%, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. The registrar’s office is expecting turnout for this primary election to land at about 35% to 45%, officials said on Election Day. There are approximately 1,025 unprocessed ballots remaining.

The top two candidates in the primary will face each other in a runoff during the general election in November.

Three candidates are challenging Candelas to represent District 8, which includes Evergreen, Silver Creek and the Lake Cunningham area. Candelas was appointed to San Jose City Council in 2023 and hopes to keep his seat for a regular four-year term.

Candelas has been busy since his appointment more than a year ago to replace Sylvia Arenas, who took a higher position with the county’s Board of Supervisors. Candelas did not respond to requests for comment.

Last month, Candelas helped reopen San Jose’s beloved waterpark, Raging Waters. During his appointment, he hosted more than 15 community cleanups, secured $100,000 for a pedestrian bridge in Yerba Buena and led efforts to revitalize Lake Cunningham.

Truong, in second place, spent his night watching the results flood in at San Jose’s AK Restaurant, in the dining room filled with supporters. He lost the council appointment to Candelas and was accused of mortgage fraud last year. He has served as a sworn officer with the San Jose Police Department for more than 15 years and said he’s grateful for the support from the community.

“The night’s still young but it looks like our neighbors, our community really takes public safety to their heart as a number one priority,” he told San José Spotlight on election night.

San Jose City Council District 8 candidate Tam Truong speaks to supporters at his election night party on Tuesday, Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

Mai Nguyen, resident of District 8 since 1985, said she has supported Truong’s campaign since the beginning because of his committment to public safety.

“I’m sure he will keep that promise (of safety), so my kids can play and we feel safe,” she told San José Spotlight.

Bainiwal, a former airport commissioner, engineer and longtime director on the board of the Sikh Gurdwara of San Jose, is trailing behind in third. He also sought the District 8 appointment last year and wants to bring his neighborhood back to what it used to be.

He said he’s hopeful the numbers will change as they’re updated, but he was expecting different results.

“We gave it all, the right message and that’s what I stand for,” he told San José Spotlight. “I guess the community wants something different than what I stand for.”

Dhaliwal, a mom with a background in giant tech corporations Meta and Google, is far behind in last place. She said she’s not disappointed with the results and supports Candelas and Truong, who she said both have strong campaigns.

“My goal was not to win, city council is not my dream job,” she told San José Spotlight.

Candelas has raised the most money during the race with $116,586 in total contributions as of Dec. 31, 2023. Bainiwal follows with $89,260, Truong has raised $66,805 and Dhaliwal has not reported any contributions.

This story will be updated.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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