Strange bedfellows? Carl Guardino endorses Dave Cortese
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese spoke to reporters at the County Government Building Friday. Photo by Katie Lauer.

Carl Guardino once raised six figures to defeat Dave Cortese’s bid for mayor. Now he wants to see him go to Sacramento.

Guardino, the powerful former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, has endorsed Cortese’s bid for the Senate District 15 seat. Cortese, a Santa Clara County supervisor, is competing with former FEC commissioner Ann Ravel for the chance to succeed Sen. Jim Beall.

“I support Dave Cortese for our State Senator because of his experienced and effective leadership on “THEE Issues” facing Silicon Valley,” Guardino said in a statement emailed by Cortese’s campaign. “T” for Transportation, “H” for Housing & Homelessness, “E” for Energy and the Environment; and “E” for Education.”

In the heated 2014 mayoral race, Guardino raised more than $500,000 to support Mayor Sam Liccardo, a close friend of his who was deadlocked against Cortese for the city’s top political job. With Guardino’s tech-fueled cash, Liccardo won the mayor’s race by a slim 2 percentage points.

Now, it appears Guardino is switching gears by supporting a traditionally labor friendly candidate like Cortese.

A copy of a campaign email send by Cortese’s campaign announcing an endorsement from Carl Guardino.

While it might seem like strange bedfellows to some, the longtime politician said it’s not that unusual — the two men go way back, Cortese says.

“Carl and I have worked together for more than 20 years, if you count his time with HP and with Assemblymember (Rusty) Areias,” Cortese told San José Spotlight. “We share the same priorities in this race. It was a very straightforward set of conversations about issues like housing, homelessness, climate and education that got us here.”

In the 2020 election cycle, Guardino has also endorsed business-backed San Jose Councilmembers Lan Diep and Dev Davis — both fighting for re-election. He’s stayed out of the race to fill an open seat in Assembly District 25 and supports former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee in the contest to replace Cortese on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Guardino, who left the influential leadership group in June, is now the executive vice president of global government affairs of Bloom Energy.

Meanwhile, Ravel, Cortese’s opponent, has many hard-hitting endorsements of her own, including former President Barack Obama and some of Cortese’s colleagues.

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