Thousands of dollars roll in for Santa Clara County candidates
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting chambers. File photo.

    As the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors races begin to ramp up for the 2024 election, campaign contributions are also heating up as candidates begin fundraising for seats that are up for grabs.

    Candidates across three districts have already raised more than $600,000. All contributions and donor information are based on campaign filings as of June 30, between the period of Jan. 1 and June 30.

    District 2

    Hopeful candidates are vying for a seat that will be left vacant by District 2 Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who is terming out. The San Jose district includes Downtown, East, and South San Jose.

    Betty Duong, Chavez’s chief of staff, is leading the fundraising pack, raising $161,420 with $134,360 cash on hand. Duong, a first time candidate, entered the race in April.

    “This helps demonstrate to people that I’m a very serious candidate, and I’m one that works very hard,” Duong, 42, told San José Spotlight.

    Madison Nyugen,​​ former San Jose vice mayor who launched her bid for the seat in May, has $105,631 in total contributions and $84,011 in cash on hand. If Nguyen or Duong claim victory, Santa Clara County could have its first-ever Vietnamese supervisor. This district specifically includes a large portion of San Jose that is home to more than 100,000 Vietnamese residents, making it the city with the largest population of Vietnamese residents outside of Vietnam.

    Nguyen said her campaign is community-driven and she is not taking donations that are more than $500. She said her and her team have canvassed each week since launching her bid for the seat, and that she is committed to bringing meaningful results to issues that matter most to residents.

    “I’m grateful to have the strong support that the community is showing with this campaign,” Nguyen told San José Spotlight. “In seven weeks, I’ve raised… more money than I had expected and this is truly a testament to the fact that voters want change and accountability in this election.”

    Corina Herrera-Loera, an Alum Rock Union School District board member who announced her campaign in April, reported raising the least with $10,660 and ended with $8,367.

    “While money is important in any election, voters care about the issues that are important to them,” Herrera-Loera told San José Spotlight. “That is why my focus is on the well-being of children and families, community safety and improving our response to the homelessness crisis.”

    Magdalena Carrasco, a former San Jose vice mayor and District 5 councilmember, does not have a campaign committee set up yet. She launched her bid for the seat in April. She lost the race for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education last November, as well as a run for county supervisor in 2020. She also previously served as a board member for the East Side Union High School District from 2013 to 2014.

    District 3

    Incumbent District 3 Supervisor Otto Lee is up for reelection, but has no opponents so far. He has raised $102,296 with about $86,269 in cash at the end of the period.

    District 5 

    Two candidates are vying for Supervisor Joe Simitian’s seat, who is terming out. The district includes Mountain View, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga and portions of Palo Alto.

    Sally Lieber, who began campaigning in April, has the highest amount of contributions in the District 5 race by the end of this period, with $141,721 and $134,802 in cash. Lieber is a member of the California State Board of Equalization, which is responsible for tax administration in the state.

    She started her career in public service as a Mountain View councilmember in 1998, moving on to the state Assembly from 2002 to 2008. Lieber also served as speaker pro tempore from 2007 to 2008 where she presided over the Assembly in the speaker’s absence. She ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2012 and 2020 and was later elected to the board of equalization in 2022, which oversees county assessors across California.

    Lieber said she is proud to be a candidate who does not accept corporate money. With the race not too far away, she said it is important for voters to know where each candidate is collecting their dollars.

    “The key thing for voters to pay attention to is the source of the money and if they agree or not with the sources of money,” Lieber told San José Spotlight.

    Margaret Abe-Koga, who announced her campaign in March, raised $127,561 with $114,114 cash on hand. Abe-Koga attempted a run for the seat in 2012, but dropped out of the race shortly after Simitian entered.

    Abe-Koga termed out of the Mountain View City Council in 2014, where she had served since 2007, and was reelected in 2016 while battling breast cancer. She’s currently in her fourth term as a councilmember. Abe-Koga served as mayor in 2009 in Mountain View, where she helped the city navigate the economic downturn, and again in 2020 where she led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s the first Asian woman to serve as mayor in Mountain View history, according to the city.

    Abe-Koga said she is grateful for the community support that has come through to help her campaign.

    “It is very difficult in a down ballot race to engage voters,” Abe-Koga told San José Spotlight. “The dollars will help enable us… to engage voters on county issues. It is gratifying that most of my support comes from neighbors and residents in the district representing a broad coalition of community support.”

    Contact Julia Forrest at [email protected] or follow @juliaforrest35 on Twitter.

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