The newly-released fundraising totals in the Santa Clara County supervisor’s race show a few unexpected front-runners as the candidates bolster their war chests.
Five candidates are vying to replace Supervisor Dave Cortese and represent a district that spans San Jose, Alviso, Sunnyvale and Milpitas.
According to the latest county finance reports, former Sunnyvale Councilmember Otto Lee reported raising $209,508 from Jan. 1 to June 30, beating out four other contenders, but only after lending himself $100,000.
Lee was followed by Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who raised $176,300 without any loans, followed by San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco who raked in $62,280, Planning Commissioner John Leyba with a war chest of $54,175 and former San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera who raised $50,000.
While not as significant as Lee’s loan, Leyba gave his campaign $50,000 while Herrera loaned herself $37,241.
“We are very, very happy with the results of our fundraising efforts and our endorsement efforts as well,” Lee told San José Spotlight. “A lot of the support I’m getting is local support. I’ve served in the community since 1997 when I was on the Planning Commission, so I’ve met many people who are supportive of my efforts. I’m humbled by the support.”
Starting early also helped Lee who began the dash for campaign cash in January. Some of his top contributions came from fellow attorneys such as Steve Ellenberg, husband of Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, and Rich Alexander.
“We’re not stopping. If anything, we’re accelerating our fundraising,” Lee added.
When it comes to spending, Lee spent $57,343, while Chu spent $4,055, Carrasco spent $4,606, Leyba spent $27,974 and Herrera spent only $514.
The fundraising cap in the Santa Clara County supervisorial race is $250,000.
Many of Chu’s top contributors included fellow Assmeblymembers and their campaigns, including Speaker Anthony Rendon, Phil Ting, Lorena Gonzalez, David Chiu, Bill Quirk and Rob Bonta, who all maxed out at $1,000.
Carrasco garnered much of her support from local activists and Sacramento-based labor unions. A noteworthy $1,000 contribution came from the Kevin de Leon for Lieutenant Governor 2026 campaign. de Leon, the former Senate president pro tem, shares a daughter with Carrasco.
Herrera drew a bulk of donations from Evergreen business owners while Leyba’s money came mostly from individuals, including members of his family.