Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran said he’ll withdraw from the Santa Clara County supervisor race to pursue an even higher office in the state Assembly.
The 34-year-old elected announced his candidacy for Supervisor Dave Cortese’s seat in December. But in the wee hours this morning, Tran said he changed his mind after learning that one of his political mentors would be running the same race.
“Things were looking pretty good until I received a call a couple weeks ago from our state Assemblymember Kansen Chu,” Tran wrote in a Facebook post published somewhere around 3am Wednesday. “Over the phone, past 10pm on a weekday, he expressed his intent to also run for county supervisor. For 30 minutes, we talked about many reasons why he was going to run in a race that I was also in, and for 30 minutes I understood why he wanted to come home from Sacramento.”
Though it was by no means an endorsement (Chu has not come out in support of any candidate to date), the gesture was touching and galvanizing to Tran, who emphasized how he holds his relationship with the veteran lawmaker in high regard.
“When I first started out, it was hard to get a meeting with elected officials,” Tran wrote. “I was a nobody. Kansen was the first elected officials that met with me before all of this and treated me as a human being. Not all politicians do that.”
After Tran won the 2016 mayoral election, Chu was the first elected official to visit him in his new City Hall office. Tran said he endorsed Chu for his Assembly re-election last year.
“He’s ‘Uncle Kansen,’” Tran said. “His wife Daisy is ‘Auntie Daisy.’ Their granddaughter played for the Milpitas Bobby Sox. They have been stout (sic) leaders for working class families. They are an exemplary example of where I aspire to be one day.”
All of which is why he’s setting his sights a little higher.
“So I’m no longer running for Santa Clara County supervisor and will be supporting Kansen Chu in that race,” the second-term mayor wrote. “He’s got the leadership to serve Milpitas and Santa Clara County. Instead of running for the same seat, grounding and pounding through campaign season, I have made the decision to show my respect for someone that has done very much for many.”
With that, Tran will be up against Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Anna Song and Santa Clara Unified trustee Jim Canova. Last week, the two school officials were the first to announce their candidacy for AD 25, an notably ethnically diverse district that straddles the Tri-Valley and South Bay, from Newark and Fremont, and on down to Milpitas, Santa Clara and San Jose.