San Jose councilmember trails political rival
San Jose Planning Commissioner George Casey celebrates with supporters after leading the District 10 San Jose council race. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

A South San Jose councilmember who snagged a seat in a contentious appointment last year is fighting to stay in office — and now it appears he’ll face challenger George Casey in November.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Casey leads with 38.6% of the vote. San Jose Councilmember Arjun Batra has secured 36.6% of the vote. Candidate Lenka Wright trailed behind with 24.7% of the vote.

The early results show 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.

Despite his struggle to finish first, Batra said on election night he feels optimistic. He beat out five others in a closely-watched appointment process in January 2023, including Casey.

“We’re neck and neck with George Casey,” Batra told San José Spotlight. “Hopefully, we’ll pull ahead of him. Hopefully these percentages will hold. I’m happy with what’s there.”

Batra, a retired tech worker turned politician, and his two challengers are competing to represent District 10. The district includes the Almaden, Blossom Valley and Santa Teresa areas in South San Jose.

San Jose Planning Commissioner George Casey leads the District 10 council race in San Jose. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Casey gathered with his supporters at a pizzeria in the Almaden neighborhood Tuesday night.

The group huddled together, munching on pizza and desserts as they watched early returns trickle in. Casey said he decided to run for the seat because the district deserves better than its current leadership.

“I got involved because I was frustrated with issues that were just not being addressed in San Jose,” he told San José Spotlight. “You come across such generous people, generous with their time and their money. They inspired me and frustrated me even more because people deserve so much more. This has been phenomenal for me. I’m just so proud to be a part of this community.”

Batra filled the seat last year after Mayor Matt Mahan was elected mayor in Nov. 2022. Batra, who worked as a software engineer and Intel executive, served on city committees overseeing tax measure spending and smart city initiatives.

Batra has positioned himself as a reliable moderate vote on a city council dominated by progressives. In his year in office, he’s worked on measures to address homelessness and to speed up the city’s permitting and housing development processes. To improve street safety, he added 15 speed bumps across his district, narrowed streets and implemented speed radars. He also hired 10 additional school crossing guards and put more lights in the Hoffman Via Monte neighborhood.

Casey, a San Jose planning commissioner and attorney, said his experience as a corporate lawyer with a background in real estate makes him the most viable to replace Batra. Casey is endorsed by the police officers’ association and Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility.

On the campaign trail, Casey prioritized affordable housing measures such as down payment assistance and rent-to-own policies for police officers and city employees to bolster retention.

Batra and Casey secured a dual endorsement from the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

Wright, a former broadcast journalist who works as a communications director for the city of Mountain View, is endorsed by four of Batra’s council colleagues, including San Jose Councilmembers Dev Davis, Sergio Jimenez and Omar Torres, as well as Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Director Jim Beall and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone.

San Jose City Council candidate Lenka Wright watched early returns at her election night party on Tuesday. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

At her election night party at Mr. Mojito Bar & Grill in Almaden Valley, Wright was upbeat as she watched the early returns. Lively music filled the air as she and her supporters gathered around a fire pit and dined on appetizers.

“I’m feeling great and overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by my supporters,” Wright told San José Spotlight. “I met great people knocking on thousands of doors in District 10. We have such a great community here and the enthusiasm to see our community thrive moves me not only to see what I can do for District 10 but the community at large.”


She ran a campaign focused on public safety staffing, investing in emergency services and addressing homelessness with safe parking and housing solutions.

During the race, Batra raised the most money with $67,314, followed by Casey with $59,590 and Wright with $32,794, as of Dec. 31.

An elected official sits at a table and completes his ballot while a campaign sign appears behind him,
San Jose Councilmember Arjun Batra cast his ballot and dropped it off at the Almaden Community Center earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Arjun Batra campaign.

Batra did not have an election night party and told San Jose Spotlight he voted by mail earlier in the week.

This story will be updated.

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].

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