Joe Simitian Makes It Official: He’s Running for Congress in 16th District

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian made it official today, declaring his candidacy for the 16th District congressional seat up for grabs in 2024 because of the retirement of 16-term Rep. Anna Eshoo.

In making the announcement, Simitian, a Democrat, touted the endorsements of over 130 local elected officials and a war chest of $600,000 “in federal campaign dollars – more than any potential opponent.

“I will fight to reverse climate change, protect reproductive rights, and tackle the housing crisis,” said Simitian. “On the Board of Supervisors and in the State Legislature, I took on tough problems and powerful interests and won. I’ll do the same in Congress.”

Simitian told San Jose Inside last week that he would be making the announcement this week, following the decision of Eshoo to not seek re-election.  Two Democrats and two Republicans have officially filed for the coveted Silicon Valley seat – considered a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a Democrat – and former San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo and state Assemblymember Evan Low, both Democrats, are preparing to enter the race.

Candidates have until Dec. 13 to file the necessary paperwork to join a race that one political adviser has called “a sprint” to the March 5 primary.

The other candidates in the open primary are Republicans Karl Ryan and Peter Ohtaki and Democrats Rishi Kumar and Joby Bernstein.

Simitian, 70, came in second in a poll commissioned by the Liccardo campaign and released Tuesday, favored by 12% of potential 16th District voters, compared to 16% for the former San Jose mayor. Another seven opponents polled in single digits.

In a statement, Simitian said, “Our community has been served exceptionally well by Congresswoman Eshoo. I will follow her tradition and my own practice of prioritizing constituent service.”

The three-term supervisor and former Assembly member, state senator and Palo Alto mayor and council member pledged to “advance the values and issues that are the hallmark of our valley: innovation, inclusion and fairness.”

Simitian said in a statement that he has served 14 of the 15 cities and towns in the 16th District at some point in his political career, and claimed a “track record of making a difference for everyday people includes real accomplishments in housing, environmental protections, mental health and effective defense of democratic principles.”

Simitian said he begins the campaign with over $600,000 in federal campaign dollars and said his early surge of local endorsements underscores a “widespread, community-based support.”

Among the endorsements are Campbell Mayor Anne Bybee, Half Moon Bay Mayor Deborah Penrose, Los Altos Mayor Sally Meadows, Los Altos Hills Mayor Linda Swan, Los Gatos Mayor Maria Ristow, Monte Sereno Mayor Bryan Mekechuk, Mountain View Mayor Alison Hicks, Saratoga Mayor Kookie Fitzsimmons, Portola Valley Mayor Jeff Aalfs, Palo Alto Vice Mayor Greer Stone and San Jose City Councilmember Dev Davis.

“The outpouring of support from the locally elected officials who know my work so well is really gratifying,” Simitian said. “I am offering a passion for public service and proven legislative skill to address the pressing issues facing our communities and our nation.”


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. Anna is old and needs to retire. Good for her. The problem is that Joe is also over 70! He needs to recruit someone about 20 years younger than he is so we can have a representative from our area in Congress long enough to gain seniority. Congress needs to enact a mandatory retirement age, and do whatever it can to encourage the next generation to take over.

  2. I am old and I agree with you. What everyone forgets is all of these folks including Anna started out much younger. (She was 50 when elected) Nothing against Simitian. He has done a fine job. But surely we have some talented 50 year olds who can do the job

  3. It does seem like this is Evan Low’s race to lose.

    I don’t think Joe Simitian’s intitial fundraising advantage will sustain itself or amount to much — all the candidates have enough of a network to fundraise. They all have nearly equal name id in the district.

  4. Please let’s not send an old politician that should be retiring to our capital. Joe is a nice guy but ALWAYS splits ‘the baby’ in half. We need bold leadership and not a professional politician!

  5. SUE ALLEN, indeed, someone in their fifties or sixties is better if you view it objectively or if you view it with respect to longevity in office (not one of my desires). In the seventies is when people, notably those not working and wearing their bodies physically, begin to experience disabilities associated with aging; it’s when being old really begins in developed countries normally now. You want more vitality, though 50-plus brings maturity, especially in order with so many people, and that includes voters in farther-left places, exhibiting extended childhood now, or arrested development, well into the twenties and often into the thirties now with Millennials, and Zs threatening to extend it even more. (One day actually to one’s fifties, one wonders, more likely someday than athletes achieving it first. To think 50-55 has long been the standard ambitious goal for an early retirement, already, and nowadays also where ageism begins to strike sharply.)

  6. Simitian pushed through a lot of expensive bleeding heart policies that ultimately do not benefit anybody. But it’s just taxpayers money, so help yourself.

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