San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan now has a primary opponent, Tyrone Wade, but past elections provide strong evidence the two-year incumbent will sail to an early victory for a full four-year term in the March 5 primary.
Wade, a former marriage and family counselor and homeless advocate, polled less than 3% – 4,406 votes – in his first bid for mayor in 2018, and in his second try, in 2022, he failed to qualify for the primary ballot.
He submitted his initial candidate paperwork and qualified for the ballot on Friday, according to the City Clerk’s list of qualified candidates, updated Monday.
Mahan and Wade were joined by 17 qualified candidates for five city council seats up for grabs in the primary, including three incumbents.
Ironically, the likely lack of a mayoral vote in November undercuts the rationale for a momentous decision by city voters in June 2022 to approve, by a 55% to 45% margin, a measure to shift future mayoral ballots, beginning this year, from gubernatorial to presidential election years.
Measure B advocates argued that the move would increase voter turnout and increase participation of minorities in mayor elections. Because of the likelihood of a Mahan victory in the March primary, eliminating a November mayoral vote, a test of the Measure B rationale will have to wait until 2028.
An anticipated rematch of Mahan and Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez faded in May when it was revealed she had applied for the job of county administrator in San Diego. Chavez didn’t confirm that she would not make a third try for San Jose mayor until November, effectively ensuring Mahan’s unimpeded route to re-election, leaving Chavez’ strong organized labor supporters without a candidate.
Big Labor’s 2024 local campaign funds, with balances exceeding $500,000 as of the most recent reports, will likely have a big impact on the elections for council, while Mahan will be free to turn his fundraising and politicking attention to the council races, in a bid to secure more support.
The two council members appointed by a lame-duck council in a controversial process – Domingo Candelas in District 8 and Arjun Batra in District 10 – are among the candidates seeking election in the March 5 election.
Other candidates listed as qualified for the primary ballot are:
District 2 (Councilmember Sergio Jimenez terms out)
Pamela Campos, Metro Transportation commissioner; Babu Prasad, SEIU union shop steward; Vanessa Sandoval, Jimenez chief of staff; Joe Lopez, retired sheriff’s deputy.
Incumbent David Cohen, seeks a second term; Kansen Chu, former state assemblyman and San Jost council member.
District 6 (Councilmember Dev Davis terms out)
Michael Mulcahy, Willow Glen business developer; Olivia Navarro, insurance agent and political adviser for LIUNA Local 270; Angelo Pasciuti, decorated Marine Corps veteran; Alex Shoor, city housing and community development commissioner.
Domingo Candelas, appointed to the council in 2022; Sukhdev Bainiwal, sought appointment in 2022; Tam Truong, city police sergeant, sought appointment in 2022; Surinder Kaur Dhaliwal.
Arjun Batra, appointed to the council in 2022; George Casey, planning commission vice chair; Lenka Wright, Mountain View communications director.