Special Election Day: Alvarado, Chavez Hope to Replace George Shirakawa Jr.

Don’t expect a huge turnout for Tuesday’s election to replace disgraced Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr., despite the $1 million price tag.

Regardless, the primary race is an enormously critical one-issue ballot to decide which of seven candidates (one’s a write-in) will represent District 2, a diverse area that encompasses San Jose’s downtown and east side. If no one get’s 50 percent of the vote plus one, a runoff will take place about a month after the results are certified by the Registrar of Voters.

Labor leader Cindy Chavez, 49, and Santa Clara Valley Water District communications manager Teresa Alvarado, 48, are the two frontrunners.

As of Monday, 21.54 percent of vote-by-mail ballots issued (or 16,702 of 77,524) were returned, according to the county’s Registrar of Voters. But overall voter turnout isn’t expected to surpass 30 percent.

Last week, the Fair Political Practices Commission dismissed a complaint by the Alvarado camp claiming unfair coordination by Chavez, the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee’s United Democratic Campaign and the South Bay Labor Council. The FPPC found that no campaign laws were broken because nearly identical mailers sent out by the latter two groups were strictly member-to-member communications.

San Jose Inside/Metro has also reported on Chavez’s conflicts of interest with her nonprofit Working Partnerships USA and the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, both of which have been quite active politically and have received substantial local government funding.

The Chavez camp promptly sent out a press release at the end of last week after receiving the FPPC’s verdict.

“The Alvarado campaign filed this false claim as part of an aggressive negative campaign strategy against Cindy Chavez,” campaign consultant Ed McGovern wrote in statement emailed out Friday. “We were confident that the FPPC would dismiss this bogus complaint, and we’re pleased that they did just that.”

While final vote totals are not expected to be tallied this evening, people wishing to attend election night parties for the two frontrunners have options. Starting at 8:01pm the Alvarado camp will host a party at the Flames Restaurant banquet room (88 S. First St. in San Jose), while Chavez will have her get-together at the Labor Temple (2102 Almaden Road in San Jose).

WHAT: District 2 supervisorial special election
WHEN: Tuesday until 8pm
WHERE: Find your polling place.
INFO: For election results.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. I’d be excited about today’s vote if I didn’t already know the outcome. No, I can’t say which of the two race-leading mediocridades will win, but I can say with certainty who will lose.


  2. “… The Chavez camp promptly sent out a press release at the end of last week after receiving the FPPC’s verdict…”

    So far nothing from the Alvarez camp or their publicity specialists at Metro/SJI – all of a sudden there is unbiased reporting going on???

    Hats off though, all SJI’s allegations of law breaking and foul play on Cindy’s part sure made for a nice 2-sided glossy mailer sent out by Teresa’s camp.

  3. The ONLY negative hit piece to hit my Dist. 2 porch was the aforementioned “2-sided glossy mailer sent out by Teresa’s camp”…

    Could easily have been written by a Metro/SJI “reporter”, it was that bad…

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