Election 2014: Scoundrels Lose

It was an election notable for its abysmal turnout and the number of scoundrels on the ballot. Accused bribe recipient and gun trafficker Leland Yee was losing his bid to become secretary of state but was still in the double digits. Convicted Neiman Marcus shoplifter Mary Hayashi pulled a respectable 20 percent of the first counted votes against Bob Wieckowski in Senate District 10, and yet still finished third. And suspected election stealer Xavier Campos managed to secure just one in three early votes.

The good gals were ahead. Magdalena Carrasco appeared to have pulled off a shocking upset Tuesday night by dethroning a sitting Campos, East Side’s councilman. She secured 54 percent of the vote in San Jose’s District 5 at deadline time. Failing to behead a monarch was Kevin Jensen. Despite scads of dough and a very nasty campaign, Sheriff Laurie Smith coasted towards a 60 percent victory.

Dave Cortese literally had his cake and ate it, too, as the county supervisor celebrated a birthday at Loft Bar and Bistro on the same night he led in the San Jose mayoral primary. Cortese tried to sound Obama-esque, calling the election “a move toward change.“ Staying on message, he lashed out against city hall’s “toxic atmosphere” and the “struggle for people in neighborhoods having trouble getting a [police] car to come out.”

Over at Dynasty Seafood restaurant on McLaughlin and Story, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen threw what was probably the largest and most festive of the primary bashes. With husband Terry and 2-year-old daughter Olivia in tow, she clutched a red rose given to her by a supporter. Two points behind Sam Liccardo for second place, according to early returns, she called it “a privilege to run for mayor of San Jose, regardless of who wins.” The vice mayor said she was pleased with the tallies considering the Samster “raised double what I did.” (Nguyen was able to scrape together $477,000, by her estimate, not exactly pocket change.)

Pierluigi Oliverio had a quiet dinner at Santana Row’s Fogo de Chao and, in keeping with his independent ways, steered clear of the functions. Oliverio, who wrote his four mailers and, true to his tight-fisted philosophy, didn’t hire a consultant, said, “We ran a proud campaign, supported by normal everyday people who contributed to elect an independent-thinking mayor.” Councilmember Rose Herrera, who spent the previous two days in the hospital due to a virus, finished in a distant fifth.

Police unionista Raul Peralez celebrated a first-place finish for downtown’s council seat at the Labor Temple while business community darling Don Gagliardi sipped on a dark craft beer at ISObeers on Santa Clara St. Kathy Sutherland played it even lower key at home serving Casa Vicky’s comida, red and white wine and a few Modelos.

Kansen Chu surprised with more than a third of the vote in the Assembly District 25. Measure B supporters popped champagne moments after the first returns registered for the library parcel tax extension: a landslide victory, by initial counts.

Ro Khanna elbowed his way through a sweltering room packed out with supporters, many of whom who didn’t look old enough to vote, pausing every foot or two to proffer hugs and handshakes. Early returns had Khanna in the runoff with Rep. Mike Honda. Khanna took to the podium to deliver a heady speech about the “soul of America,” democratic ideals and “what really matters,” while Honda’s media team press released their spin that Honda had won the primary “decisively” in a “rejection” of Khanna.

UPDATE: The above election results held true—with slight variations in percentages—once the county Registrar of Voters tallied for votes from all precincts.

Other local races of note included:

  • Evan Low and Chuck Page advancing in the Assembly District 28 race.
  • Chappie Jones and Paul Fong advancing in the San Jose District 1 City Council race.
  • Diane Ritchie and Matt Harris advancing in their judge's race.
  • Tam Nguyen and Maya Esparza advancing in the San Jose District 7 City Council race. Van Le finished a very close third to Esparza.
  • Don Rocha holding on to his District 9 council seat.


  1. Mike Honda: nice guy, party animal, but the laziest legislator on Capitol Hill since Senator Obama, gets over half the vote. Go figure.

  2. Seriously feel sorry for anybody living in District 5 with Campos or Carrasco , they don’t stand a chance

    • D5 barely survived the No Comment reign of criminal behavior that was Xavier Campos. Carrasco most likely won that election but it was stolen by Shirakawa and that whole Team Campos. It wasn’t stolen from Carrasco it was stolen from the people of D5 who didn’t get their true candidate. Looks like the people have spoken loud and clear and I hope that corrupt Team Campos and all their backers are listening. D5 didn’t like your dirty tricks, they didn’t buy your lies, they don’t want criminals representing them and they don’t care how much money or what sort of machine you put behind a candidate. Has an incumbent council person ever been dumped in the primary by a majority vote for a candidate who raised half as much money? Campos made history by being the biggest loser on the ballot. Lets hope justice prevails and when stampgate comes to trial for Shirakawa that Campos is indicted, charged and convicted too.

      • Cambio,

        Right on – If I knew you – I would HI-Five you with the Happy Dance -. I agree with your comment. Those who get into politics should really think of the whole spectrum of why they are running for office. Not what they think they could get out of it but what they could make of it by doing right by those who vote for them- the truth will always be there and when you do something illegal, well your digital footprint can always be googled years later. I feel for the Shirakawas’ family legacy, not only will they have to live with the backlash of what the Jr. did but how he stained their family name the Sr. had built for the community and had given hope for a better community. AS the Campos family, they were linked with not only committing fraud, theft, corruption – they should be ashamed for letting their kids ruin their name for bad politics because obviously “ethics” were never part of their vocabulary – being in politics – local politics it is not who know but what you know – never drag your immediate family into corruption or fraud this will always leave a stain on your family name – These two families will always be known as being part of corruption, fraud, theft, intimidation and giving or making false accusations – D5 needed new blood and fresh ideas for a Community at Risk – I hope Carrasco will lead us into a bigger and better community. By taking a better look at the prostitution and gang activity that still exists because new lighting on specific expressways doesnt help the neighborhoods that have weak or no working street lights and garbage dumping or neighborhood thefts on personal residential properties. D5 doesnt revolve around the Story and King Road areas – D5 is the second largest district in the Santa Clara County and it is sad when 3/4 of that coverage area has better – cleaner areas and1/4 of the area is almost dismal. AS a community and all of D5 coverage area should focus on the full big picture and back the new council member with working ideas and work together from residents, small business and corp. companies to be a part of something big –

  3. Thank goodness the crooked Campos is removed! Carrasco can’t be any worse…justice and intelligence reigns!

  4. Xavier Campos is a turd in the punchbowl of San Jose politics, one who richly deserved to lose, but its silly to claim the 2010 election was “stolen.” Its not at all clear that without his unlawful skullduggery, that Campos wouldn’t have still defeated Carrasco.

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