San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan will be the next mayor of San Jose.
His opponent, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, announced today on social media that she had called Mahan today “to wish him the best of luck in his two-year term as mayor.”
The acknowledgement by Chavez of her defeat followed the report Tuesday night, with 90 percent of votes counted, that she trailed by 6,351 votes.
The unofficial, incomplete tally at 4:57pm Tuesday showed 123,436 votes (51.32%) for Mahan, with 117,085 (48.68%) for Chavez. San Jose Inside had called the race for Mahan Tuesday after the vote count showed him with an insurmountable lead.
Chavez’s statement today stopped short of congratulating her opponent, but did say, “we were not victorious.”
In a statement released later in the day, Mahan was conciliatory, and reached out to Chavez supporters.
“I have just spoken with Supervisor Chavez and appreciate her most gracious concession in the true spirit of our robust democracy,” Mahan said in a statement. “I congratulate Supervisor Chavez on her strong campaign and I hope to work with her closely in the years ahead to address the challenges facing San Jose.”
“This has been a long and hard-fought campaign,” he said. “But what unites us as a city is much more powerful than any divisions from a political contest. I want to send my gratitude to every single voter who cast a ballot for our campaign or for Supervisor Chavez. Your vote was thoughtfully cast and your voice will be heard.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who was not eligible for re-election and who endorsed Mahan, said in a statement: "Mayor Mahan will be a collaborative, dynamic and thoughtful leader, who will ensure that our government works just as hard as the families we serve. It's no secret that I'm thrilled with Matt's election, because San José's future will be in good hands.”
The statement by Chavez today on Twitter ended one campaign, but, reading more like a campaign speech than a concession speech, it may have begun another.
Her pointed reference to Mahan’s two-year term fueled speculation that she might make a third bid for mayor in 2024, when her supervisor term ends. She did not respond to questions about her political future after 2024. Chavz, a former city council member, lost her first bid for mayor in 2006.
San Jose voters on Nov. 8 overwhelmingly approved, 58% to 42%, a change in the city charter to move mayoral elections to coincide with presidential election years, meaning Mahan will serve through 2024, when the next mayoral election will occur.
In her statement, Chavez also – without naming names – warned that 2022 elections, local as well as national, included “candidates, their supporters and special interests showing a willingness to lie, distort, deceive and even dehumanize their opponents.”
In her tweet, Chavez said: “Thank you everyone for all you have done to assist my campaign for San Jose mayor over the past year. Though we were not victorious, our message will carry on and live within the work I take on over the next two years as your county supervisor."
Mahan’s statement praised the turnout, which appeared to be headed for the 60% range, and his campaign supporters..
"While this has been the longest period of vote counting in recent memory, we need to remember that we have also just seen the highest number of votes cast for mayor in our city’s history,” he said.
“We all want our city to be safe, to prosper, and our mission is to work together for common-sense solutions to end street homelessness, fight crime more effectively, make our city more affordable, clean up San Jose and hold ourselves as elected officials accountable for results. And I want to personally thank our incredible volunteers and the 40,000 San Jose citizens who joined our campaign for common sense. You built one of the most powerful grassroots campaigns that this city has ever seen. It was your work that made this victory for common sense possible."
Chavez attached this statement to her tweet:
“Over the past year, our campaign brought together a broad coalition of support, including labor and business, environmentalists and innovators, educators and engineers, neighborhood leaders and elected officials – people representing every inch of San Jose and each of its diverse communities. We were all bound by the common goal of bringing new leadership to city hall with the capacity and experience to achieve results and restore a sense of hope and ambition of the city we can create together.
“And though we were not victorious, our message will carry on and live within the work I take on over the next two years as county supervisor – continuing to improve public safety, add more affordable housing and lift the homeless off our streets and out of our creeks and into permanent, supportive homes.
“As your county supervisor, I remain committed to the city I love and will continue to fight for our community, and all of those who want to live in a safer, more just and more equitable San Jose. My commitment to this city will never waiver.
“I have called Matt Mahan to wish him the best of luck in his two-year term as mayor. San Jose faces numerous challenges in the months and years ahead, requiring that we all work collaboratively with the entire City Council to reach meaningful and equitable solutions.
“We have seen worrying trends both nationally and locally, with candidates, their supporters and special interests showing a willingness to lie, distort, deceive and even dehumanize their opponents. Such behavior not only feeds voter skepticism, it threatens our democracy.
“I am proud to have run a campaign of ideas and ideals, and to have shared my vision with so many in our community – a vision of hope, progress, inclusiveness and empowerment and of a future where San Jose truly serves as the cultural, political and economic capital of Silicon Valley.”
This story has been updated, with comments from Matt Mahan and Mayor Sam Liccardo.