Seven Silicon Valley candidates net major endorsement
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez speaks on March 7 about how the county's crime lab handles DNA samples from sexual assault survivors. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

The Santa Clara County Democratic Party has announced its 2022 endorsements for candidates in six city and county races—all of whom recently received support from local labor leaders.

The party, which represents more than half a million Democratic voters in Silicon Valley, gave a sole endorsement to Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez in the San Jose mayoral race.

Chavez appears to be the favorite in Democratic circles. The supervisor also snagged endorsements from the Silicon Valley Democratic Club and South Bay Labor Council, which comprises more than 100 unions across the county.

“This election is about the future of San Jose and making sure that we have a leader with the experience to solve the really pressing problems that are impacting our residents,” Chavez told San José Spotlight. “The endorsement reflects that (the party) knows that as a supervisor, I really lead on these issues.”

Chavez points to a number of initiatives she’s led, such as the $950 million Measure A affordable housing bond, as evidence of her track record in the area. She’s facing San Jose Councilmembers Raul Peralez, Dev Davis and Matt Mahan and several others for the mayoral seat.

“Our endorsements reflect the judgment of our central committee that these are the candidates who, from the Democratic perspective, will best serve the community,” Santa Clara County Democratic Party Chair Bill James said in a statement. “We urge Democratic voters to support them.”

The local party also endorsed Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Rosemary Kamei in the District 1 San Jose City Council race, San Jose-Evergreen Community College District trustee Omar Torres in District 3, Santa Clara County Board of Education President Peter Ortiz in District 5 and incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza in District 7. Esparza is facing off against San Jose firefighter Bien Doan and East Side Union High School District Board President Van Le.

With more than three decades in community organizing, Kamei said her experience speaks for itself.

“I’m proud to have received their sole endorsement,” she told San José Spotlight. “This says that I am a very strong candidate and that there’s a recognition of how much I’ve done in the community.”

Ortiz, who has a dual endorsement from the South Bay Labor Council with former Assemblymember Nora Campos, said the support from the party is because of his months-long grassroots campaign in East San Jose.

“This is an extremely important endorsement for my campaign,” Ortiz told San José Spotlight. “This shows that (the party) saw us as the campaign with momentum and the one that takes this race seriously.”

Torres said he’s the most experienced and knowledgable candidate in the race to represent downtown San Jose.

“I’ve been organizing at the grassroots level for over 25 years, and I know the ins and outs of what issues and challenges we face,” he said.

The party also announced its support for San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas and Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Claudia Rossi, who are vying for the open District 1 seat on the county Board of Supervisors.

“I am very proud to have the endorsement of my party, because I share their values and their passion,” Rossi told San José Spotlight, adding she’s gotten the party’s support in every race since 2010.

Esparza and Arenas didn’t respond to inquiries about the endorsements.

The primary election is June 7.

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

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