In the race for San Jose’s only open City Council seat, District 9, real estate broker Pam Foley pulled ahead of Kalen Gallagher by 945 votes on Wednesday. Foley, a business-backed San Jose Unified School District trustee, is on track to succeed labor-aligned Councilman Don Rocha as Cambrian-area representative.
A victory for Foley would give conservatives and moderates a majority sway on the 11-member council, which is currently divided between business and union interests with D7 Councilman Tam Nguyen representing the swing vote.
Gallagher, who serves on the Campbell Union High School District board of trustees, emerged as the dark horse candidate in the primary without support from either labor or business. In Tuesday’s contest, he managed to claim nearly 47 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting and 52 percent of the ballots counted.
As the returns posted late Tuesday, Foley celebrated the results with friends and political allies at her Willow Glen Home. Some of San Jose’s conservative council members, including Dev Davis and Johnny Khamis, joined the intimate gathering. As did with officials from the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO), the region’s leading business advocacy group, one of Foley’s biggest backers and the folks behind a misleading attack ad against her opponent.
Gallagher, who opted not to host an election night party, raised his campaign cash from primarily individual donors while Foley enjoyed generous support from real estate developers and the SVO.
When the SVO PAC targeted Gallagher in a series of deceptive fliers, Foley denounced the tactics at a press conference. But unlike Pat Waite, who returned SVO’s campaign contribution after the group smeared his rival in the District 2 race, Foley kept the cash.
The candidates themselves ran clean campaigns, however, and kept their focus on the issues. Foley said she supports Google’s planned move into downtown and incentives such as tax cuts to spur more housing construction. She was endorsed by the council’s business-aligned bloc, including Davis, Khamis, Chappie Jones and Mayor Sam Liccardo as well as conservative former mayors Chuck Reed and Judy Chirco.