Pete Constant, the lone Republican contender in this year’s crowded field for mayor of San Jose, bowed out of the race Tuesday. His exit drops the number of San Jose councilmembers running to succeed Mayor Chuck Reed to four: Rose Herrera, Sam Liccardo, Madison Nguyen and Pierluigi Oliverio. County Supervisor Dave Cortese, who previously served on the council, is also considered a strong contender.
Constant’s mayoral bid suffered from the start, as the councilman devoted much of the last few months to taking care of family matters. His father died near the end of last year.
“I am looking forward to continuing to serve the constituents of Council District 1 and the citizens of San José through the remainder of my term,” Constant said in a statement. “This, along with attending to my family obligations and my continued academic pursuits, will be my focus. Rest assured, my 28 years of public service in San Jose will continue for many years into the future.”
There have been rumors that Constant’s wife, Julie, a school board member in Campbell, might run for his termed-out District 1 seat, but the councilman told San Jose Inside that will definitely not happen. State Assemblyman Paul Fong has been actively campaigning for the seat and is considered a strong bet to win.
Constant’s exit could set the stage for a well-funded outsider to enter the race. Pat Waite, a Republican who made millions working in Silicon Valley’s tech sector, has expressed an interest in running, and he apparently has enough money that he could sidestep fundraising with an independent, self-funded campaign.
In a September 2012 interview, Waite told San Jose Inside that he is conservative on fiscal issues but takes a more “libertarian” approach to social issues.
Constant added in his statement that he has no plans to endorse anyone before the June primary.
Here is Pete Constant’s full statement on his withdrawal from the mayor’s race:
“I can’t express enough my thanks to the thousands of San José residents and business owners who have encouraged me to run for Mayor. To the volunteers who have poured their respective heart and soul into my campaign, I humbly say thank you.
“I am looking forward to continuing to serve the constituents of Council District 1 and the citizens of San José through the remainder of my term. This, along with attending to my family obligations and my continued academic pursuits, will be my focus. Rest assured, my 28 years of public service in San José will continue for many years into the future.
“Our city is recovering from the devastating effects of over a decade of budget deficits. Mayor Reed and I, along with my city council colleagues, have implemented a series of fiscal reforms to provide for budget stability in the future. I sincerely hope the successful candidate will bring visionary leadership to the Mayor’s office that truly brings people together to accomplish great things for all of San José.
“I have no doubt, that with so many qualified candidates in the field, our residents will engage all of the candidates in a vigorous discussion of San José’s future. While I am looking forward to participating in this public discussion, I do not intend to endorse any candidate before the primary election in June. Together we will elect a mayor that is committed to restoring services, rebuilding our city, and reviving our economy.”