San Jose Mayor, Other City Council Incumbents Dominate in Campaign Fundraising

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo maintained his huge fundraising lead over his lone challenger in the June primary, with the incumbent reporting nearly $544,000 in contributions from more than 860 donors during the final few weeks of 2017.

Liccardo, a business-friendly Democrat vying for his second term as mayor, faces only one other contender so far—QuingMinh Pham, who reported no cash raised in campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the City Clerk’s Office.

The mayor’s support largely came from a network of real estate developers, lobbyists and tech and finance professionals. Besides the Liccardo’s seat, four other spots on the City Council will come to a vote this June and potentially a runoff in November.

Vice Mayor Magdalana Carrasco, who represents the East Side in District 5, raised $42,354 in the opening fundraising period, which spanned the last few weeks of December. A progressive-leaning Democrat, she garnered significant backing from labor unions, elected officials, candidates for public office and government employees.

The East Side incumbent faces two challengers: communications director and member of the Santa Clara County Libertarian Party Jennifer Imhoff-Dousharm and neighborhood organizer Danny Garza, neither of whom raised any money by the initial filing deadline.

In District 7, the six candidates challenging Councilman Tam Nguyen trailed behind the first-term incumbent, who amassed more than $85,000 from nearly 350 donors and a small loan. Maya Esparza, a longtime nonprofit executive and six-year trustee in the Franklin-McKinley School District, raked in nearly $21,000.

Third in the running is mortgage loan manager Thomas Duong, who reported raising $12,175, followed by Van Le with $6,7979 and Omar Vasquez with $6,434. Jonathan Fleming, a community organizer, raised nothing by the first filing deadline.

The only open seat is in District 9, where Councilman Don Rocha is terming out while campaigning for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Five candidates are angling to replace him in the Cambrian area district.

San Jose Unified School District trustee Pam Foley pulled way ahead of the pack with $80,665, which includes a $20,000 loan. Kalen Gallagher, a Campbell Union High School District trustee and former teacher, collected $57,660 in contributions and a $12,000 loan.

Shay Franco-Clausen—the only openly lesbian woman of color running for a council seat—filled her coffers with $32,360, which includes a $5,000 loan and individual contributions from educators and public sector employees.

Sabuhi Siddique, Santa Clara County’s Human Relations Commission vice chair and a former hospital tech, raised $15,985 by way of donations and a $5,000 loan. Rosie Zepeda, a marketing consultant who calls herself “The Closer,” reported $13,220 in total campaign contributions.

In District 3, which covers San Jose’s downtown, Councilman Raul Peralez raised $53,364 and faces no challengers. West Valley’s District 1 Councilman Chappie Jones, who’s also running unopposed, reported $25,870 in campaign cash, which includes a $10,000 loan.

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


  1. One candidate sent out a braggadocios email proclaiming “raised more money during the first fundraising period than any other city council campaign in the history of San Jose.”

    Well that clearly did not happen. That candidate did not even make the top three even in this year’s crop of candidates.

  2. > Jonathan Fleming, a community organizer, raised nothing by the first filing deadline.

    What a coincidence!

    SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE is also a community organizer, and likewise raised nothing by the first filing deadline.

  3. Please correct the article, Sam Liccardo is “big” business friendly. i.e. those businesses w/ deep pockets run by his frat brother cronies.

    You do not want to be a small, Mom & Pop business owner in SJ!

    • Amen! I have never seen a mayor and city council so antagonist toward local business people. Its as if they don’t want us here…

  4. Yes Mr Ed is very developer attorney friendly…. Its all about another term of waste. The downtown stench of urine keeps growing. Thank god for the LED walkway tube at city hall. I hear people come from out of state, filling the hotels just to hang out and walk through while smoking ganja

  5. > San Jose Mayor, Other City Council Incumbents Dominate in Campaign Fundraising

    More of the same. No “hope and change” here.

    Same flock, different sheep.

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