ELECTION 2022: Robert Jonsen Tally Builds Lead over Kevin Jensen for Sheriff

Updated at 9am Nov. 10.

Palo Alto Police Chief Robert “Bob” Jonsen held on to his lead over retired sheriff’s captain Kevin Jensen in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s race Wednesday, widening an early lead in his a bid to be the first new county sheriff in more than two decades.

With 100% of 103 precincts reporting partial results, with 49% of the votes remaining to be counted, Jonsen, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s captain, held a 7,761-vote margin over the retired sheriff’s officer.

Jonsen's vote total at the midway point in the ballot counting showed him with 133,986 votes (51.49%), compared to 126,225 (48.5%) for Jensen.

The two law enforcement veterans topped two sheriff’s deputies in a reform-minded campaign that coincided with the civil misconduct trial of ex-Sheriff Laurie Smith, who chose not to seek re-election to a seventh term after votes of no confidence and a scathing grand jury report accusing her of misconduct.

Smith resigned last week as the jury was deliberating an eventual guilty verdict in the non-criminal case.Smith's surprise announcement two months before the end of her sixth term left unclear what sentence could result from the verdict.

This year was Jensen’s second attempt at the sheriff’s post. He ran against his former boss, Smith, in 2014 and lost.

Acting Sheriff Ken Binder did not seek election.

Santa Clara County Sheriff

Early, unofficial returns 5pm Nov. 9

Robert Jonsen 51.5%

Kevin Jensen 48.5%


  1. The ghost of Laurie Smith haunts Jensen.

    The timing for Jensen to run for sheriff could not have come at a worse time. The problem is that Jensen and Smith do not like each other, and not a lot of people know that. I suspect that more people voted for Jonsen because they thought Jensen and Smith were on good terms. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    If Jensen had done a better job of separating himself from Smith, I think he would have won. But like I said, the timing could not have been worse for Jensen from a political point of view. Once Smith was found guilty on the corruption charges, voters probably thought the sheriff’s office needed a clean slate, and voted for Jonsen.

    The ghost of Smith made her mark.

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