What Would Have Happened if Dave Cortese Won the Election?

With so many elections—primary, runoff and special—taking place the last few years, a bit of voter fatigue should be expected. But one small detail that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of play is just how many extra races would have commenced had Dave Cortese defeated Sam Liccardo in the San Jose mayor’s race. A move by Cortese from the county Board of Supervisors to City Hall’s 18th floor would’ve set off a special county election, with State Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose) likely giving up her last term (which she just won, by the way) to run against Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, amongst others, for the security blanket of 12 years’ salary and few tough decisions. While Campos is no shoo-in, despite county supe Cindy Chavez attempting to engineer the move for months, Campos’ defection would have jump-started the 2016 East Side Assembly race a year early, pitting San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra against council colleague and Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen (and maybe Rose Herrera), as well as county education trustee Darcie Green. A victory by any of those four—except Nguyen, who terms out this year—then would have set off a special election for their respective seats, potentially leaving a local school board absent a member until election infinity. The political career ladder is costly for voters and campaign contributors but appears to have few drawbacks for office seekers. Of course, none of this even takes into account that Kansen Chu’s victory for Bob Wieckowski’s termed-out seat in the Assembly means San Jose already has one special election on the horizon in District 4. There are strong indications Kansen’s wife and personal stylist, Daisy Chu, will make a move for the seat, while attorney Lan Diep, who represented Vietnamese fisherman after the BP oil spill, is another name being floated.

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

3 Comments