San Jose Election Roundup

The 2022 General Election is tomorrow, and we’re wrapping up our pre-election coverage with the City of San Jose – the 10th largest city in the nation and one of the most diverse cities in the country.

Elected officials will grapple with rising homelessness, lack of affordable housing and understaffed city departments like police and planning.


This season’s big-ticket race is for San Jose Mayor, and fundraising efforts prove it. The two candidates, Cindy Chavez and Matt Mahan have collectively raised a whopping $8.5 million. Political action committees (PACs) have raised 51% of those funds ($4.4 million) since last December.

The 49ers recently contributed $460,000 to Cindy Chavez’s campaign. It’s the second donation made by the NFL team to a pro-Chavez committee this year.

Meanwhile, sitting San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has spent roughly $578,000 on Mahan’s campaign since June through his PAC called Common Good Silicon Valley, sponsored by Solutions Silicon Valley.

Liccardo is also facing criticism after his advocacy group was linked to attack ads against local candidates. Several mailers have gone out to San Jose residents in recent weeks, which attacked mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez and San Jose Councilmember Maya Esparza. According to a recent report by the San Jose Spotlight, these ads are among many that were circulated by various special interest groups in the weeks leading up to the election.

It is also important to note that voters passed Measure B in June, which moves the City of San Jose’s Mayoral elections to coincide with presidential election years. This means that the winner of this year’s race will serve a two-year term, but will be allowed to run for two additional four-year terms.

Cindy Chavez

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez is running for San Jose Mayor. Chavez was the former vice mayor of San Jose, served two terms on the San Jose City Council and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2006. Housing, homelessness and police staffing are Chavez’s top issues.

Chavez is endorsed by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and California State Senator Dave Cortese.

Matt Mahan

Matt Mahan is a current San Jose councilmember for District 10 running for mayor. He was elected to the council in 2020 after a tech career. According to his website, Mahan’s campaign focuses on “demanding common sense,” with his top issues listed as city government transparency, homelessness and affordable housing.

Mahan is endorsed by current San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, former chair of the Federal Election Commission Ann Ravel and former Mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed.

City Council District 3

Omar Torres

Omar Torres is a San Jose-Evergreen Community College District board member running for the District 3 city council seat. Torres’ goal is to ensure everyone in District 3 benefits from the growth of Silicon Valley. If elected, his priorities will be housing, small business resiliency and job creation.

Torres’ endorsements include the Santa Clara Democratic Party, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Ro Khanna and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

Irene Smith

Irene Smith is a long-time small business owner and mental health professional running for the city council in District 3. Her priorities are creating sanctioned encampments to reduce homeless numbers, improving public safety by increasing police officers and revitalizing small businesses.

Smith’s endorsements include former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis, the Silicon Valley Biz PAC and San Jose City Councilmember Dev Davis.

City Council District 5

Nora Campos

Nora Campos is a former state Assemblymember and former member of the San Jose City Council running for her former District 5 seat. Campos served on the council from 2001 to 2010 and later went on to serve in the state Assembly representing District 27. After terming out of the Assembly, Campos ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2016 and 2020.

Campos hopes to replace Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco who terms out of the District 5 seat in 2023. The two have been long-time political rivals. Carrasco took the city council seat from Campos’ brother, Xavier Campos, in 2014. This was after Xavier Campos defeated Carrasco for the seat in 2010.

Campos has placed public safety at the top of her priority list if elected to the city council.

Among Campos’ endorsers are California State Senator Dave Cortese, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber and Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine.

Peter Ortiz

Peter Ortiz is a Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee running for the San Jose City Council District 5 seat. Ortiz’s top priorities are supporting small businesses, public safety and expanding funding into direct services and programs for East San Jose’s traditionally under-resourced communities.

Ortiz’s endorsements include Civil Rights Activist Dolores Huerta, The Mercury News and the Santa Clara Democratic Party.

City Council District 7

Maya Esparza

Maya Esparza is the incumbent councilmember for District 7 seeking reelection. Her previous government experience includes working for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and as chief of staff to then-councilmember Nora Campos. On her campaign website, Esparza points to her successes in building neighborhoods, reducing crime and expanding housing protections. She states that she will continue to fight for community empowerment and policies that reflect District 7 values.

Among Esparza’s endorsements are the San Jose Firefighters Local 230, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.

Bien Doan

San Jose Fire Captain Bien Doan is challenging Maya Esparza for the District 7 council seat. If Doan wins, he’ll be the third Vietnamese American to hold the District 7 seat and the fifth person of Vietnamese descent to hold a council seat overall in San Jose. Doan’s top issues are homelessness, public safety and promoting businesses and job growth.

Doan is endorsed by San Jose Councilmember Dev Davis, former District 7 Councilmember Tam Nguyen, and the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors District 1

Sylvia Arenas

San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas is running for Santa Clara County District 1 Supervisor. During her time on the council, Arenas launched San Jose’s Family Friendly Initiative and helped reform the city’s response to rising sexual assault and violence rates. Arenas’ priorities include improving public safety, solving homelessness through improving mental health services and climate change.

Arenas endorsements include Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and State Senator Dave Cortese.

Johnny Khamis

Johnny Khamis is a current councilmember running for Santa Clara County District 1 Supervisor. Khamis was first elected to the San Jose City Council in 2012 for District 10 and reelected in 2016. If he wins, Khamis will focus on mental health in the homeless community, fiscal responsibility and public safety.

Khamis’ endorsements include District 1 Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and San Jose Vice Mayor Chappie Jones.

Santa Clara County Sheriff

Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith was found guilty by a Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury last week on six counts of corruption and misconduct as part of a pay-to-play civil corruption trial. Smith resigned on October 31 as the jury deliberated her verdict. Smith served as County Sheriff for 24 years and previously stated she would retire at the end of her term in January 2023 with no plans to seek reelection.

Robert “Bob” Jonsen

Robert Jonsen is the current Palo Alto Police Chief running for Santa Clara County Sheriff. Jonsen has served as Palo Alto Chief of Police since 2018, and before that was Police Chief for Menlo Park. Jonsen’s campaign focuses on the mental health crisis in the county jail system, public safety and transparency in the sheriff’s office.

Jonsen’s endorsements include Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Assemblymember Evan Low, and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor Joe Simitian.

Kevin Jensen

Kevin Jensen is a retired captain for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office running for sheriff in the 2022 election. Jensen previously lost to Sheriff Laurie Smith for the position in 2014. Mental health, homelessness and strengthening public trust in law enforcement are at the top of Jensen’s priority list.

Jensen’s endorsements include State Senator Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman and San Jose City Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco.

Measure I

Measure I would add the City’s ethics and elections commission (Board of Fair Campaign and Political Practices) to the San Jose City Charter. Proponents believe it will make changes that make city operations more inclusive, including codifying the city’s ethics and elections commission so it can only be disbanded by voters and not the City Council. It also includes removing gendered language and citizenship requirements to serve on city commissions. The city charter can only be changed through a citywide ballot measure and a majority vote.

No opposing arguments were submitted to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on the measure. 

For more information on the November 8 election in San Jose, visit the city’s website.