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San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan appears to cruise to reelection, other key South Bay seats to get new faces

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan appeared to be easily cruising to reelection Tuesday, two years after he first took office due to a change that aligned the mayoral race with the presidential election in an effort to boost voter turnout.
Mahan held an early commanding lead over Tyrone Wade, a retired marriage and family crisis counselor who also unsuccessfully challenged former Mayor Sam Liccardo in 2018, garnering less than 3% of the vote in that election.
With key seats open this election cycle in the South Bay, Santa Clara County also was poised to get a new slate of councilmembers on the San Jose City Council and representatives on the Board of Supervisors and in the state Assembly, effectively shaping the political landscape in the Bay Area’s largest county for the coming years.
San Jose voters were electing five even-numbered council districts on the ballot this year, giving Mahan a chance at flipping the balance of power on the council away from labor interests to the mayor’s more business-friendly agenda.
District 2 Councilmember Sergio Jimenez and District 6 Councilmember Dev Davis both reached their term limits, paving the way for new representation in the district.
Jimenez’s Chief of Staff Vanessa Sandoval, small business owner Babu Prasad, political first-timer Pamela Campos and Santa Clara County Sergeant Joe Lopez were running to represent District 2, which spans a swath of South San Jose. Early returns placed Lopez in a slight lead with Campos and Prasad locked in a tight battle for second.
In District 6, Catalyze SV founder Alex Shoor, retired Marine Angelo Pasciuti, real estate investor Michael Mulcahy and local labor union advisor Olivia Navarro were competing to represent the Willow Glen, West San Carlos and Fruitdale neighborhoods. Mulcahy was in the lead early Tuesday with Navarro trailing in second.
In District 8 and 10, two incumbents — Domingo Candelas and Arjun Batra — were defending the seats they were appointed to in a contentious process last year.
In District 8, which includes parts of East San Jose and Evergreen, Candelas, a labor-aligned councilmember, faced off against San Jose Police Department Sgt. Tam Truong, engineer Sukhdev Bainiwal and retired executive assistant Surinder Dhaliwal. Candelas had a healthy lead early on election night with Truong and Bainiwal battling for second.
Batra, a business-friendly councilmember, was being challenged by planning commissioner George Casey and Mountain View communications director Lenka Wright. Early returns showed the councilmember trailing slightly behind Casey.
Most of San Jose’s council races this year are likely headed to a November runoff since a candidate must secure a majority of the vote to win outright in March. The city’s District 4 race to represent North San Jose, however, will be declared in the primary as only two candidates — Councilmember David Cohen and former state Assemblymember Kansen Chu — ran for the seat.
Cohen faced a tough reelection battle as Chu sought to take back his old seat, but the current District 4 councilmember held a commanding lead early Tuesday evening. Chu served on the San Jose City Council from 2007 to 2014.
In a race that reflected a referendum on housing, state Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) faced his toughest election since assuming office in 2016. Berman, whose 23rd district stretches from Saratoga and Campbell in Santa Clara County in the south up past Pacifica in the north in San Mateo County, had a health lead Tuesday. Palo Alto City Councilmember Lydia Kou, a vocal critic of Sacramento’s current approach to quell the state’s housing crisis, trailed behind the incumbent assemlymember. The two Republicans in the race — attorney Allan Marson and Gus Mattammal, a member of the Midcoast Community Council — fell at the back of the pack.
When Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) announced last year that he would be running for U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo’s congressional seat, six candidates jumped in the race to fill his District 26 seat, which encompasses Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and parts of north and west San Jose.
At the end of election night, Low’s district director and Foothill-De Anza Community College District Trustee Patrick Ahrens held a commanding lead with certified public accountant Sophie Yan Song and Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Tara Sreekrishnana battling for second. Sunnyvale City Councilmember Omar Din trailed slightly behind Song and retired pilot Bob Goodwyn and Fremont Union High Schools Foundation Board Member Ashish Garg were in the last two places.
Three Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors seats also were on this year’s ballot.
District 3 Supervisor Otto Lee ran his reelection campaign unopposed and handily won his way to a second term on Tuesday.
With Supervisor Cindy Chavez terming out, five candidates — including one of her staffers — entered the race to fill her District 2 seat to represent downtown and east San Jose. Chavez’s chief of staff Betty Duong and former San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen were in a tight race, early Tuesday results showed. Alum Rock school board member Corina Herrera-Loera was fighting to catch up with Duong, while attorney Nelson McElmurry and nonprofit founder Jennifer Celaya rounded out the bottom of early results.
District 5 Supervisor Joe Simitian, who was also running for Congress, is terming out, as well. His District 5 seat covers the northern part of the county and a section of the West Valley. Five candidates were in the running to replace him, and early returns positioned Mountain View City Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga in the lead, with California State Board of Equalization member Sally Lieber and El Camino Healthcare District director Dr. Peter Fung trailing behind. Former Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang and small business owner Sandy Sans were in the back of the pack.

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