At the the Sonoma Chicken Coop on Almaden Expressway, county Republicans spent Tuesday night celebrating Johnny Khamis’ four-point lead over Robert Braunstein in the District 10 San Jose City Council race to succeed Nancy Pyle.
Khamis partied with supporters over microbrews and chocolate chip cookies on hand, and a cell phone affixed to his temple. Well wishers included former assemblyman Jim Cunneen, Supervisor Mike Wasserman, a contender eight years ago for the same seat, Rich de la Rosa, and fellow library porn filter supporter, Councilman Pete Constant.
Charles Munger Jr., who organized the anti-union campaign funding Proposition 32 as well as the Republican re-redistricting effort of Prop. 40, both of which lost, nervously paced the room until the end. Munger, Jr. said he took a neutral position on his sister’s sales tax measure, Prop. 38, most likely out of a sense of brotherly love, but he had no problem calling Gov. Jerry Brow “a thug” for his competing, and ultimately victorious, sales tax campaign Prop. 30.
One gentleman wore a “He’s No Messiah” button to the event, but by the time it was clear President Obama would be in office for a second term, he joined many of the conservative crowd in a mass exodus.
Khamis was helped by a last minute endorsement from Mayor Chuck Reed, who went with the more conservative candidate despite Braunstein’s support for Measure B pension reform and opposition to the Measure D minimum wage increase.
Around the corner, Braunstein was having a quiet evening at home. Hard to believe, we know, so we drove by to check on him. Surely he must be hanging out with his campaign team—or, if all else failed, Sam Liccardo. But in the living room of his cozy Almaden Valley home, an American flag and a basketball hoop out front, Braunstein was on the sofa, TV on and laptop open, while his wife, Ann, graded papers for her third graders. A friendly 105-pound goldendoodle lolled around at the base of the sofa.
Without betraying a hint of bitterness, the candidate described how his team strove to run a positive, ethical campaign up against the bare knuckles style of Khamis’ campaign consultant, Victor Ajlouny. “When you run against Vic, it’s something new every single day.”
Braunstein said he was planning to turn in early and wasn’t expecting an outcome that night. “I was up at 6am this morning shaking signs at the corner of Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill,” he said, a bit tired after walking to 1,000 homes in the past week, by his count. “I feel like we ran a really good campaign. I’m proud of what we put out.”
Khamis finished with 53 percent of the vote to Braunstein’s 47, a difference of 1330 votes, or 5.7 percent. Khamis had beaten Braunstein by a single vote in June in the six-way primary. The turnout was 60 percent heavier this time.