Mayor Joins Republicans, Backs Khamis

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed decided to endorse Johnny Khamis for the District 10 City Council seat in November’s election.

Reed, who was joined in supporting Khamis with former San Jose Councilmember Pat Dando and State Assemblymember Jim Cunneen, both of whom are Republicans, called Khamis “a long time friend and a loyal supporter” in a press release sent out Tuesday morning. His selection is interesting on a number of fronts.

First, Reed has a poor endorsement record—and that’s putting it politely—when it comes to picking winners. As we noted in a post in August regarding Reed’s endorsement of Don Gage for mayor of Gilroy, Reed backed losing council candidates such as Hon Thi Lien (District 4), Larry Pegram (District 9), Magdalena Carrasco (District 5), and Tam Truong (District 4; Reed’s old district before becoming mayor) all in just the last four years.

The second item of note is that Khamis is a Republican, and Braunstein is a Democrat. Reed’s office insists the mayor is a Democrat, but as we’ve noted in the past, his stance on social issues combined with his efforts to cut retirement benefits leaves him leaning further to the right than anyone else on the council, except Pete Constant.

In an email to supporters Tuesday morning, Braunstein voiced his disappointment with the mayor’s decision while noting their common goals, such as Measure B reforms, bringing the Oakland A’s to San Jose, and opposing Measure D—the minimum wage ballot measure.

A member of Braunstein’s campaign put it this way: “The mayor’s history of choosing City Council candidates hasn’t been so much the golden touch but the kiss of death. However, we like the mayor, we respect the mayor and we look forward to working with him.”

The Mercury News’ Tracy Seipel recently wrote a feature comparing Khamis and Braunstein, and the overarching theme seemed to be that Braunstein has the Police Officers Association’s endorsement in the November runoff, so how can he really be pro-Measure B? But the POA endorsed Edesa Bitbadal in the primary, and she too said she supported Measure B. Bitbadal confirmed that Braunstein questioned the endorsement she received from the POA in the primary, but she called it fair game.

“As [Braunstein] has seen as well, the endorsement does not come with any strings attached,” she said. “It’s only proof that the person receiving that endorsement will fight crime.”

A better takeaway from this seems to be that Mayor Reed and the POA are intractable enemies, and Reed’s interests are one in the same with Silicon Valley Republicans. Or maybe Reed is just really good friends with Khamis and their shared political consultant, Vic Ajlouny.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. This is really a weak, problematic analyis.

    As members of the progressive tribe have recently become fond of saying, it sounds like a “dog whistle”.

    Johnny Khamis . . . wink, wink . . . Republican . . . wink, wink . . . .

    As far as I know, Johnny Khamis is NOT running as a Republican, nor has he sought or received the endorsement of any “Republican” organization, assuming that such organizations even exist anymore in the One Party State of California.

    In contrast, Robert Braunstein has affirmatively and enthusiastically proclaimed himself a “Democrat”.

    SJI seems to have tried a number of weird and bizarre tactics to marginalize Khamis and plump for Braunstein.

    There was the completely unsubsantiated claim that Khamis was a “Palestinian” and that he had characterized the Metro as “racist”.  In fact, Khamis self-identifies as a Lebanese Christian, and no one but the Metro seems to know anything about the “racism” claims.

    And now there is the tactic of trying to portray Khamis as the de facto official candidate of the vanishingly small, politically irrelevant (in California), ridiculed-and-maligned-by-the-media, Republican Party.

    The Metro’s dog-whistle is a signal to the seventy percent of voters who are not registered Republicans that Khamis is “on the other team”.

  2. Basically, Reed stands for whatever Mahood stands for.  Should there be no direction from the Chamber of Commerce, he stands with developers.  If there’s no conflict with either of these, then the path is clearly where ever the sentiment is anti-union.  Other than those primary directives, solidly Democrat.

  3. Judging by the gang of meddlesome, fiscally illiterate left wingers currently occupying our city council, I’d say that the fact that Reed has a “poor endorsement record” is to his credit.

  4. Or maybe Reed picked the person running the most honest campaign.  Have you read the Merc lately?  What did Sgt. Bortolotti mean when he said every candidate they interviewed only said they were for Measure B publicly so they could get elected?  How can Pyle or her people justify misleading the Women’s Club into thinking they had also asked Khamis to address the crowd at the Art & Wine Festival, when they had only asked Braunstein?  Why did an elderly woman have to have a huge Braunstein banner attached to her fence against her will for weeks because she was too weak to remove it herself and had to wait for the city to deal with it? And speaking of signs, why are so many of his signs placed illegally in random public places?  Does he think Code Enforcement needs more work to do?  The way I see it, he either thinks the rules don’t apply to him, or he can’t control his volunteers.  It worries me to think what will happen if he gets elected.

  5. Oh my – what is the truth?  Does Braunstein support Measure A or not?  He told the Merc that he is opposed in an article on 10/7, but only a few weeks earlier stated in a recorded debate that he is in favor.  What are we to believe?  Would you rather the Mayor reward this type of behavior with an endorsement?

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