It's primary Election Day and with it comes a ballot packed with key decisions for Santa Clara County, though voter turnout is expected to be pretty low.
In San Jose, all eyes are on the bid to succeed terming-out Mayor Chuck Reed. County Supervisor Dave Cortese faces off against councilmembers Sam Liccardo, Madison Nguyen, Rose Herrera and Pierluigi Oliverio.
Then there's the crowded race in the South-East Bay's 25th Assembly District, where a diverse set of candidates are vying to replace Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). San Jose budget director and Milpitas City Councilman Armando Gomez is neck-and-neck in fundraising with San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu. The pair are up against Teresa Cox, one of the first African American women in the U.S. to earn a nuclear engineering degree, retired Fremont police chief Craig Steckler and lone Republican Bob Brunton.
Southward, in Assembly District 28, Campbell Mayor Evan Low is up against Cupertino Councilman Barry Chang to succeed Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), who terms out at the end of the year.
One of the most fiercely contested seats is the one seven-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) is trying to defend from ex-federal trade appointee and patent attorney Ro Khanna. Honda is well-liked by constituents, but Khanna has secured a spate of media endorsements, including from Metro, the Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Republican physician Vanila Singh changed the dynamic of the race when she put her name in the running back in December. California employs a jungle primary system, so the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to a runoff in November. And Singh had a pretty strong second-place showing in earlier polls.
Heated as the House race is, it's not nearly as nasty as the fight to represent the state's 10th Senate District, where Wieckoswki and Mary Hayashi have resorted to some vicious name-calling. Wieckowski, who's terming out of the Assembly, bought the domain name www.MugshotMary.com to put his opponent on blast for her 2010 shoplifting arrest. Not to be outdone, Hayashi bought up www.BobProtectedRapists.com to drub Wieckowski for casting the only vote in against a bill that would have prevented domestic abusers from receiving alimony from their spousal victim. (He later switched the vote.) The East Bay Express ran a piece about that tiff—read it here.
Countywide, voters will decide between incumbent Sheriff Laurie Smith or her former Capt. Kevin Jensen.
Back in San Jose, the City Council is about to see a changing of the guard, with candidates jockeying for seats in five council districts. Nguyen (District 7) and Liccardo (downtown's D3) are terming out of their seats while running for the mayor's.
In D1, represented now by Councilman Pete Constant, seven candidates aim to replace him: Susan Marsland, Paul Fong, Richard McCoy, Charles "Chappie" Jones, Tim Gildersleeve, Art Zimmerman and Bob Levy.
The D3 contest has culled a considerable spate of contenders, including Mauricio Mejia, George Kleidon, Raul Peralez, John Hosmon, Don Gagliardi and Kathy Sutherland.
We're keeping a close eye on the D5 race, where Councilman Xavier Campos is seeking re-election against old foe Magdalena Carrasco and local business consultant (and part-time lobbyist) Aaron Resendez. Carrassco lost to Campos in the primary four years ago after someone sent mailers to Vietnamese American voters painting her as a communist. Last fall, Campos' friend, disgraced ex-Supervisor George Shirakawa, was arrested in connection with those mailers after prosecutors say they found his DNA on the back of a postage stamp.
D7 candidates seeking to replace out-going Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen are Tam Nguyen, Buu Thai, Maya Esparza and Val Le.
Councilman Don Rocha is running for re-election in District 9 against Lois Wilco-Owens.
If council candidates don't win more than half the votes, the top two go to a fall runoff.
For San Jose voters, Measure B asks to extend a 10-year-old library parcel tax. Here's the ballot description for the measure, which would continue the tax for another 25 years and help keep libraries staffed and open for more hours.