Jenny Higgins Bradanini’s St. Patty’s Day housewarming potluck, which boasted a spread that included 24 pounds of homemade corned beef, doubled as the official launch of her campaign for San Jose’s D10 City Council seat. The timing was no coincidence, she says, but an homage to the Irish maiden name she’s legally reinstating after a divorce.
“I’ll still run as Higgins Bradanini because that’s how everybody knows me,” she tells Fly. “But I thought this would be a great day to celebrate my family’s heritage and the campaign and to welcome people into my new home in Almaden.”
Higgins Bradanini volunteered for national political campaigns for years before delving into the local arena in the wake of President Donald Trump’s 2016 inauguration.
The 55-year-old mother of two served as president of the Bay Area Women’s March before a brief stint as Councilman Don Rocha’s policy director for the last leg of his last term. She says she began seriously mulling a council run while campaigning for other local candidates in the last election and set her sights on Councilman Johnny Khamis’ seat, which opens up when he terms out in 2020.
Sportscaster Robert Braunstein, who lost to Khamis in 2012, recently announced that he decided against another District 10 run, which he initially planned next year upon completing a three-year pact he made with the San Francisco 49ers to broadcast his show, Cal-Hi Sports Report. But the NFL team bought a majority interest in his program, making him a full-timer.
“I am no longer planning on running,” he says, “and hope a fiscally conservative Democrat like myself will run so I can support that person.”
Braunstein’s bow-out pretty much clears the way for Matt Mahan, the 36-year-old CEO of civic activism social network Brigade Media, board member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, jogging buddy of Mayor Sam Liccardo and entrepreneurial colleague of Sean Parker.
Mahan hasn’t formally committed yet, telling Fly he’s “taking a very close look at a possible race for City Council and expect to make a decision shortly.” But his intention to run is the worst-kept secret in town. Fly expects an announcement in April, once he winds things down at Brigade now that the startup is splitting up.
While Higgins Bradanini is the presumed labor favorite and Mahan clearly has strong ties with business, they’re both progressive Democrats who say they care about helping the homeless and keeping San Jose affordable. In staking claim to the center-left, they may end up courting some of the same endorsements.