Evan Low, Joe Simitian Headed for Likely Showdown over Anna Eshoo’s Seat

This story has been updated, 4pm, Nov. 22.

The dust had barely settled from Rep. Anna Eshoo's announcement Tuesday that she would not seek re-election to a 17th term in Congress, when two local political heavyweights – Assemblymember Evan Low and county Supervisor Joe Simitian, both Democrats – began laying the groundwork for announcements next week that they'll seek to replace her.

The expected announcements by 40-year-old Low, a five-term assemblyman and former Campbell councilman, and 70-year-old Simitian, a Santa Clara County supervisor, former state senator, assembly member, Palo Alto council and school board member, would set up a monumental generational battle for the coveted Silicon Valley congressional seat.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. LinkedIn Photo

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian told San Jose Inside today to expect his formal announcement next week. California Assemblymember Evan Low, a Democrat who represents Silicon Valley’s 26th District, confirmed to a Bay Area LGBTQ newspaper Tuesday that he  is considering running to fill the seat to be vacated in 2025 by Eshoo.

Low’s longtime district director, Foothill DeAnza Community College District Trustee Patrick J. Ahrens, has pulled papers to run for Low’s assembly seat, according to the county Registrar of Voters website. That means either Low is not planning to run for California Assembly again, or Ahrens is considering running against his boss.

Low confirmed his interest in the congressional seat to San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter on Tuesday. He would be the Bay Area’s first openly gay representative in Washington, D.C. if elected. Low indicated he was not yet ready to make an official announcement.

Simitian acknowledged in an interview that he has made no secret of his high interest in succeeding Eshoo when she steps down, but urged that the public's attention “in this Thanksgiving week” focus on the contributions and legacy of Eshoo, of her “great service to the communities in her district for years.”

"Any person who follows in her footsteps must commit themselves completely to upholding her incredible legacy. Today, I'm going to celebrate one of our valley’s greatest public servants and a personal mentor to me. There are a lot of people in the community I need to talk to before I make a formal decision,” Low wrote in a text message to the publication.

Low, who lives in Campbell, is a five-term Assembly member, first elected in 2014 to District 28, which was then redistricted to District 26, which includes Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and the Fruitdale area of San Jose

In 2022, Democrat Low defeated Republican Tim Gorsulowsky 74% to 26%.

Simitian, who calls Palo Alto home, served one term as a Santa Clara County Supervisor before he was elected to the Assembly, then the Senate, before his three consecutive elections to the county board.

Eshoo served 32 years

Eshoo on Tuesday announced in a press release and a video that she will not seek reelection to her 16th District congressional seat in 2024, after 32 years in Congress.

The Democratic representative, who turns 81 next month, lives in San Mateo where she served for 10 years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Eshoo’s staff released a statement Tuesday that said she “will serve out her term through January of 2025 with the same vigor and commitment she is known for by her constituents, colleagues and staff.”

She is recognized as a national leader on healthcare, technology, and environmental policy. She is one known in Congress as a moderate consensus builder. Eshoo was first elected to Congress in 1992 and was the first woman and the first Democrat to represent her Silicon Valley district.

Low posted a photo of himself with Eshoo on X on Tuesday morning with this comment.:

“Representative Anna Eshoo is an icon, personal hero and champion who leads this community with tremendous energy, grace, and grit.

“We are so blessed to have her as our leader, gracefully navigating the complex issues in this valley of high expectations. Her public service has been noble and selfless, advancing quality healthcare access for all, immigration reform rooted in compassion and humanity, and stringent consumer protections unfettered by special interests. I look forward to the many ways we can honor her extraordinary service to our communities.”

Yang campaign co-chair

In the 2017-2018 session, the Sacramento Bee identified Low as California's most prolific lawmaker, where he had the most bills signed by any member of the state legislature by Governor Jerry Brown. He has also been credited with driving the future of Uber and Lyft in the California State Legislature.

In 2016, New York Magazine identified Low as a potential United States presidential candidate in 2024 along with nine other young Democrats who, like Obama, have demonstrated unusual ambition.

In 2009 Low became the youngest openly gay Asian American mayor in the nation.

He previously worked as a senior district representative for California's former 28th State Assembly district Assemblymember Paul Fong.

He has also served as a community college instructor at De Anza Community College, where he taught American Government and Political Science.Low attended local public schools and earned degrees from De Anza and San José State University. He went on to graduate from Harvard University's Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.

Low was born in San Jose in 1983. His father is Chinese-American optometrist Arthur Low. Low grew up in San Jose and attended Leland High School. In 2003, he moved to Campbell.

Simitian  terms out as Santa Clara County supervisor, after being elected in 2012, 2016, 2020.

He is one of the best-known politicians in Silicon Valley, which he represented as a state senator, 2004-2012, and assembly member, 2000-2004 before his election as a county supervisor, where he also served one term in 1996-2000.

Simitian lives in Palo Alto, where he graduated high school and once served as a city council member and mayor. The Colorado College graduate holds two master’s degrees and a law degree.

Two other Democrats and two Republicans have officially filed as candidates for the March 5 primary:

  • Democrat Rishi Kumar, a Silicon Valley engineer and marketing consultant and former Saratoga city council member. This is Kumar’s third bid for the seat, losing twice to Eshoo, most recently by 58% to 42% in 2022, in his best showing.
  • Democrat Joby Bernstein, a Stanford University MBA graduate student
  • Republican Peter Ohtaki, who came in third in the 2022 primary
  • Republican Karl Ryan

The filing deadline for candidates for offices on the March 5 primary ballot is Dec. 8.

In the 16th District, 53 % of registered voters are Democrats, 27% have no party preference and just 16% are Republicans. The redrawn district extends across San Jose, from Highway 101 on the East and Interstate 280 on the north west to include Campbell and Los Gatos, and north to include Saratoga, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Palo Alto and parts of San Mateo county east of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Dan Pulcrano contributed to this report.

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. Evan Low is reportedly the legislator who introduced AB2098, the bill signed by Governor Newsom which would censor medical professionals’ speech that politicians disapprove of, a law recently repealed in the face of a lawsuit that would have inevitably resulted in a ruling decreeing its unconstitutionality.

    It is hard to conceive of more tyrannical legislation than that which muzzles doctors giving good faith professional advice to their patients with which one-party-state politicians disapprove as being “misinformation”. Evan Low, like Governor Newsom, is despot who should not be anywhere near the levers of power.

  2. I have wondered aloud elsewhere who besides Mr. Liccardo might run, even in articles that listed other people. This article is interesting in naming names in a more straightforward and detailed way than a list of names (where the articles’ subject really was Ms. Eshoo).

    I’m not surprised by bad traits or records any more than other things that are news with Cal Democrats.

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