7 Races in Santa Clara County Headed to Automatic Recount

After trading the lead several times with her opponent, Sylvia Arenas finished 88 votes ahead of Jimmy Nguyen in San Jose’s District 8 City Council race.

The results, which will be finalized Wednesday, are close enough to prompt a manual automatic recount of the 34,220 votes, which will start next Tuesday. But, for now, it’s safe to call a victory for Arenas, who will succeed Vice Mayor Rose Herrera.

“The results are a reflection of all the hard work that our volunteers, friends and family have put into our campaign,” Arenas said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs during the counting process, but I’ve always focused on how proud I am of our positive grassroots campaign.”

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) requires a second count when the margin between two candidates falls within 0.5 percent. Six races in addition to the one in D8 required a recount this year, according to ROV spokeswoman Anita Torres.

One of those contests heading for a recount is between Santa Clara’s elected police chief, Michael Sellers, and Sgt. Pat Nikolai, who trails the incumbent by 68 votes.

Sellers has 31 years of experience in the city’s police department, but his rank-and-file officers would rather see him replaced. Just before the election, Santa Clara’s police union gave Sellers a vote of no confidence.

The Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association charged Sellers with a lack of honesty and accountability in responding to concerns about whether taxpayer money was improperly spent on policing Levi’s Stadium.

Recounts may also be required for city councils in Gilroy, Los Altos and Monte Sereno as well as for Gilroy Unified School District and a bond measure in San Jose Unified.

Correction: A previous headline for this story stated six races would likely go to recount. San Jose Inside regrets the error.


  1. Interesting to look at how campaigns and IE’s spent their money in this race. There were no negative mailers sent against Jimmy Nguyen, even though it would have been easy to have called out Jimmy for flip-flopping and saying that he lived off credit cards. Reflects well on the integrity of Sylvia and the people backing her.

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