Esparza continues to outpace her two San Jose District 7 challengers
Incumbent Maya Esparza is head in the race, holding on to her District 7 seat Photo courtesy of Esparza.

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

San Jose Councilmember Maya Esparza continues to remain well ahead of her challengers, who had hoped to unseat the progressive incumbent.

With 94% of the vote tallied, Esparza still holds a commanding the lead with 47.77% of the vote or 5,112 votes. Her two challengers are still close among themselves, although Bien Doan continues to pull ahead of Van Le.

“Although, it’s still early returns, I’m honored by the strong support we’ve received in neighborhoods throughout the district,” Esparza told San José  Spotlight. “I’ve worked hard for our neighborhoods during the last 4 years and look forward to building on that work.”

San Jose Fire Capt. Doan has 28.45% of the vote, or 3,045 votes. East Side Union High School District Boardmember Le has 23.78% of the vote or 2,545 votes.

“I know that more votes will be counted,” Le told San José Spotlight. “I did my best and feel confident that I shall lead later.”‎

Doan is optimistic about the result. He called the latest tally “fantastic.”

“This is exactly what we predicted,” he said. “With God behind me, I believe we’ll be successful.”

District 7 candidate Van Le talks with a supporter. She is in a dead heat with Bien Doan. Photo by Tran Nguyen.
Van Le and her supporters look at the latest poll numbers. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

Sheeva Pham, a high school student at Santa Teresa High School, volunteers at Van Le’s campaign on election night.

“Ms. Le has dedicated so much to this campaign,” she told San José Spotlight, adding she admires Le’s work ethics and leadership skills.

Sheeva Pham, a high school student at Santa Teresa High School, is one of Van Le’s many campaign volunteers. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

Esparza, who edged out former Councilmember Tam Nguyen in 2018, is seeking a second term to represent some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. District 7 is home to Kelley Park, the San Jose Giants and San Jose Vietnam Town. After last year’s redistricting process redrew political boundaries, the district is comprised of roughly 47% Asian voters and 37% Latino.

With Nguyen losing his seat and former Councilmember Lan Diep being unseated in District 4 in 2020, Vietnamese community leaders and residents in the district are eager to see a Vietnamese policymaker on the council again.

Esparza has the support of San Jose Fire Fighters Local 230, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party and the South Bay Labor Council, which has spent more than $17,000 to support her campaign. Esparza touts her record of improving public safety, funding street improvements and addressing the impact of homelessness. Esparza, a Democrat, has raised $103,520 as of May. Labor unions also helped Esparza’s fight, spending  on mailers and phonebanks for the incumbent.

Le, 63, has run for City Council and state Assembly several times and is a longtime leader in the Vietnamese community for more than three decades. The school boardmember wants to address public safety and gang activities, solve homelessness and improve communication between City Hall and residents. With the support of Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee, East Side Union board President J. Manuel Herrera and Nguyen Khac Binh, major general of the armed forces of the former Republic of Vietnam, Le has raised $106,596.

Doan, 57, is a San Jose fire captain for 11 years. He said his priorities are to address homelessness, crime and the increasing cost of living in the area. Doan has scored endorsements from San Jose Councilmember and mayoral candidate Dev Davis, former District 7 Councilmember Tam Nguyen, former San Jose Councilmember and county supervisor candidate Johnny Khamis, the Silicon Valley Biz PAC, and Common Good Silicon Valley PAC, which spent more than $77,000 to aid his campaign. Doan has raised $86,265 as of May.

The race has gotten contested with Doan and Le attacking each other over their records days before the election.

Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter. 

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