UPDATE: Councilman Manh Nguyen, who took the lead over challenger Lan Diep in early returns, fell behind Friday morning with thousands of ballots yet to be counted.
The only two incumbents in San Jose’s City Council elections managed to win another four years in office—one in a landslide victory and the other by only a slim margin. Meanwhile, some surprising frontrunners emerged in the race for three open seats, securing their place in the runoff this fall.
With all precincts reporting Wednesday morning but mail-in ballots yet to be counted, Councilman Johnny Khamis coasted to victory in District 10, which spans Almaden Valley. His opponent, software professional Mike Sodergren, entered the race late, refused to raise any money and came away with only 24 percent of the vote.
District 4 Councilman Manh Nguyen, on the other hand, barely held on to his seat—again, with mail-in ballots still being tallied—edging ahead of his challenger, Lan Diep, by just 136 votes. The results were similar last year, when Nguyen narrowly beat Diep, a public interest attorney, in a special election for the North San Jose seat.
Three seats were up for grabs with council members Ash Kalra, Pierluigi Oliverio and Rose Herrera terming out later this year. Oliverio’s District 6, which encompasses Willow Glen and the Rose Garden, became the most competitive, with eight candidates vying to replace him.
The two women leading the pack and winning their place in November’s runoff: retired researcher and parks advocate Helen Chapman and Stanford University researcher Dev Davis.
In District 8, San Jose’s Evergreen area, five people put their name in the running to succeed Herrera. The clear frontrunners, and now runoff opponents, were attorney Jimmy Nguyen and Evergreen School District trustee Sylvia Arenas.
Of the four contenders for Kalra’s post in District 2, San Jose’s Edenvale and Santa Teresa community, the person who raised the least money clinched the most votes. Businessman Steve Brown led the pack followed by public defender investigator Sergio Jimenez.
The outcome of this fall’s runoff elections will shake up the power dynamic on the council between labor and business interests. To keep track of the results, check in to Santa Clara County’s Registrar of Voters website for the latest tally.