Filing Deadline Closes with No Formidable Challengers in San Jose’s 2018 Mayoral Race

The deadline to jump in the San Jose mayor’s race closed Friday with no realistic challengers for Sam Liccardo, who’s now on a glide path to re-election.

He marked the occasion with a celebratory tweet.

A rumored run by Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez never transpired. In a statement sent to reporters, the labor-backed supervisor said she understands why “hundreds of residents, community leaders and others” wanted her to take on Liccardo, but that she’s more effective in her current role.

“Although I believe our mayor can and should do more,” Chavez said, “I believe that we can accomplish more by working together.”

The only other people who submitted nomination papers are relative unknowns. There’s the arguably homophobic businessman Steve Brown, who lost to Councilman Sergio Jimenez in the 2016 District 2 race and who’s joined in this contest by political neophytes QuangMinh Pham and Tyrone Wade.

Two council members are unopposed—Raul Peralez in downtown’s District 3 and Chappie Jones in District 1, which spans the western part of the city.

The only open seat is, of course, one of the most crowded with six people vying to replace District 9 Councilman Don Rocha. Shay Franco-Clausen, Pam Foley, Kalen Gallagher and Sabuhi Siddique had qualified to run Friday, while forms for Scott Nelson and Rosie Zepeda had yet to be reviewed.

One of the most vulnerable incumbents this year is District 7 Councilman Tam Nguyen, who lacks support of both labor and business. Six contenders will try to unseat him come the June 5 primary—Maya Esparza, Thomas Duong, Chris Le, Van Le, Omar Vasquez and Jonathan Fleming.

Former state Assemblywoman Nora Campos apparently decided against trying to take back her old District 5 seat from Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, who beat Campos’ little brother Xavier Campos in his 2014 re-election bid. Carrasco’s only opponents this year are neighborhood activist Danny Garza and PR director Jennifer Imhoff.

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


  1. Those meanies in Orange County won’t help the homeless.

    We need to build housing for the homeless and offer more services for them here.

    Where’s your heart?

    “Thousands of pounds of human waste, close to 14,000 hypodermic needles cleaned out from Santa Ana River homeless encampments”

      • In light of today’s City Council majority vote against funding the operation of the over 10 year old South San Jose Police Substation, perhaps Sam’s confidence is about to be shaken. How arrogant to tell the residents of South San Jose that the escalating crime in our neighborhoods is of low priority to this administration. Not only is it almost impossible to get police response to crimes, our City supports the laws that allow these criminals, if apprehended, to go unpunished. Residents in South San Jose have continually voiced their frustration at the lack of official interest in all of the things which concern us, as Patty Fishburn has listed. I applaud any candidates, known or relatively unknown, to undertake this monumental project of returning San Jose to its citizens. It’s about time Liccardo and his cohorts begin to squirm under the growing scrutiny of San Jose’s residents. I hope there will be some like-minded people who will financially support those who seek a positive change regarding our quality of life and safety under this present administration. In addition, I would urge all media to allow the process to happen without bias.

  2. Hi Jennifer: Have you yourself interviewed Steve Brown? Are you planning to? I don’t understand this kind of reporting. It is so biased. Why? What happened to sticking to reporting the facts?! Find out for yourself who Steve Brown is or anyone who you point out.

    San Jose Inside does itself no favors with this kind of reporting. Your regular Joe can see through this. You did a horrible write-up on Didn’t interview us either. We reached out to you; no response. If Steve Brown reached out to you, would you reciprocate?!

    It’s a little too obvious who you favor right off the bat. Try being neutral and just report about all of these candidates running. Do you think it’s easy to run in this political climate?!

    I ask for all parties to play the game fair. Stick to the issues. San Jose Action will be inviting the mayoral candidates to a debate down the road.

    • Patty I agree but this is how 90% of bay area media operates. The voters of SJ will continue to complain about crime and failing infrastructure during sliccardo’s second term. It will be more of the same big lawyers and developers feeding at the trough and the tax payers left holding the bag. But I guess they get what they deserve.

    • “Stick to the issues.”

      And the issue is that Mr. Brown has not only some shady business dealings, and questionable perspectives, but he is also a bully and a bigot. His incoherent and unhinged ramblings all on video, so yes, please report the facts as they occurred, you say Steve Brown is homophobic, no need for the “arguably”.

    • Article says, “No formidable challengers” Let’s examine why Steve isn’t formidable.

      1. He’s not incumbent.
      2. Has no history as an elected official.
      3. He’s been painted as many nasty things by our local dems
      4. He doesn’t have a huge war chest like Sam does.
      5. He doesn’t have the endorsements Sam has.

  3. > I ask for all parties to play the game fair.


    If you’re including “progressives” in “all parties”, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Progressives don’t have to be fair.

    Show me a place in the Progressive’s Rulebook where it says they have to be fair.

  4. That is exactly what I am saying gentlemen! We know how this political game is played. Can we go back to candidates behaving maturely?! And how about the media? Enough is Enough!

    These outrageous headlines and polls. Please stand back and let the SJ constituents decide who their next Mayor of SJ is‼️ What happened to the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE?! And POWER OF THE PEOPLE?! I’m the first one to say, “There are more of us than them”. Meaning the politicians who we voted in. They are our EMPLOYEES‼️ Once they are voted in, power changes people. That stinks and I don’t like it.

    Whose war chest is bigger is of no importance to me. So no one should pick me as their finance manager. lol. Is that what “buys” votes? $$$ is necessary to a point. I don’t know who Tyrone Wade is other than he ran for Mayor and City Council before. QuangMinh Pham is also labeled a “political neophyte”. I know Steve Brown cause he spoke at our Hayes Mansion meeting 12/17/18.

    Obviously these candidates are not happy with how SJ is being run. They want it to go in a different direction. Okay welcome to America. We have that freedom and capability to oppose others in the political arena. The media doesn’t need to come across as though this is a shoo in for Sam. I would hope every candidate would tell their campaign people to respect their opponents and conduct themselves in a mature way.

    I am the San Jose Action Lead, but my reply here is my own opinion. I will give the candidates some tips that I know people are concerned about: TRASH, garbage, blight, the Homeless, Tiny Homes (BHC) expense, property taxes and how that $$ is used, business leaving So SJ, citizens feel illegal immigrants have more rights than they do, sanctuary city, CRIME, lack of police presence, to name a few.

  5. > The only other people who submitted nomination papers are relative unknowns.

    People need to know a little bit about the filing process to understand WHY there is only one “formidable” candidate:

    The fee to file for mayor is $25.


    The filing fee is $25 for all candidates.

    In addition, if a candidate chooses to submit a Candidate Statement of Qualifications for printing in the Santa Clara County Voter’s Sample Ballot, the candidate must pay a deposit towards printing as estimated by the ROV. The estimates for the June 5, 2018 Primary Election are:
     $10,300 for Office of Mayor”

    In other words, the costs of getting your name on the ballot WITH a candidate ballot statement is over TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!

    The reality of elections is not that you have your name on the ballot but that you have a CANDIDATE STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS in the voter information pamphlet.

    WHAT THIS REALLY IS is a ballot access fee that has the effect of keeping “relative unknown” candidates — not “off the ballot” — but off the “stage” and out of the limelight of candidates who are visible to voters. Definitely NOT a level playing field.

    Really, the same effect as an unconstitutional “poll tax”.

    Another trick from the bag of tricks of the “one-party democracy”.

  6. Yes a one party system with two candidates of the same party maybe out of the same office or family or tribe. This works very well in most of the world North Korea, Russia, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua,
    Saudi Arabia, California just to point out a few successful ones. It work so well that the opposition doesn’t even bother anymore.
    It’s like sitting in a warm pile of your own poop and wondering what stinks!

  7. So, what’s the backstory on the full page (A7) “Don’t Support Sam” ad in today’s Mercury News?

    I’m receptive to the message, but it’s not clear that it has anything to do any Sam on my list of unacceptable Sams.

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