Madison Nguyen Files Papers to Run for Mayor of San Jose in 2014

It keeps you up at night. You toss, you turn. You absentmindedly carry out the daily routine: brush teeth; wash face; one pant leg and then two. And yet, you can’t shake it. Your waking hours are consumed by a single question, a question that gnaws at your very soul:

Who will run for mayor of San Jose in 2014?

Putting aside the fact that you desperately need a hobby, the question received a partial answer at the end of last year with little to no fanfare. Madison Nguyen, San Jose’s vice mayor and councilmember for District 7, filed paperwork Dec. 19 with the City Clerk’s office declaring her intent to run for mayor. 

Nguyen says her early entry to the race had more to do with outreach than fundraising, as candidates won’t be able to start collecting campaign cash until this coming December.

“Ill be honest with you—a city of a million people, I want to take every opportunity I have to get out there and find what people want and need from our elected officials,” she says.

Nguyen is the first second person to file such paperwork, and she makes for an intriguing candidate. Her intrigue stems not from her gender, even though few females are expected to take part in the race; and it has little to do with the fact that she is Vietnamese-American, which will undoubtedly play a role in how she targets voters.

The most intriguing part of Nguyen’s campaign will be where she finds institutional support.

While Nguyen once enjoyed a good relationship with the South Bay Labor Council, those days are a distant memory since the passage of measures V, W, B and a few other letters to throw in the soup. County Supervisor Dave Cortese, formerly the vice mayor of San Jose, has not yet said if he will run for mayor, but it’s no secret he is labor’s preferred candidate.

District 3 Councilmember Sam Liccardo is another likely candidate, who, like Cortese, has not declared an intent to run but has been quietly solidifying his base of support with business and the Chamber of Commerce. Former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery and Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino have both been making calls on Liccardo’s behalf.

“I’m going into this campaign, knowing that I will probably not get support form the Chamber of Commerce and South Bay Labor Council,” Nguyen says. “What I want to do is maintain an independent voice, and not necessarily be influenced by powerful forces in the city.”

Nguyen survived a 2009 recall effort in her second term due to the naming of a Vietnamese shopping district, which was eventually named Little Saigon, not her original choice. But the vice mayor says that saga is “water under the bridge.”

“During the Lunar New Year celebration, I sat down and had tea with a lot of these folks, who a couple years ago opposed me,” she says. “Now we’re sitting down and talking about the future.”

UPDATE: The City Clerk’s Office said on Thursday that Louis Garza was the first person to file a “Candidate Intentions Statement” for the 2014 mayoral race. While the spelling of the first name is different, this is probably the same Garza who ran for mayor in 2001 and got arrested for being drunk in public. A phone number listed on Garza’s 2012 filing has been disconnected.

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


  1. Not to be outdone by any other mayoral candidates, Madison Nguyen has her very own sprawling urban village too! This beautiful neighborhood is located along Tully Road, Story Rd, and the Coyote Creek tributary. Although much more discreet than Camp Chuck Sam, Camp, Maddy “No-Win” Nguyens’ camp sports adjacent waterfront property and a full shade tree canopy. Nothing like Camp Chuck Sam’s urban sprawl model. Camp No-Win’s continued development also encourages terraced gardens and built in fire and BBQ pits! The residents brag and boast about the smell of fire roasted chicken permeating the development. Coincidental that chicken is the cheapest protein? Not likely, but who can resist that smell? It nearly masks the smells of the uncontained feces. Almost.

    Before we become envious of Camp No Win, keep in mind that this is not the same as her “Gated Community” she created for her homeless constituents at Curtner Ave and Highway 87-Rail road line. This fine gated community known as Camp 40k( for the 40 thousand dollar cost of fencing and gates), paid for at taxpayers expense, was mutually beneficial not only to Maddy, but also to Pier Luigi, who’s district 6 is now also segregated by this “gated” community. Trouble now is, with both Maddy and Luigi courting the Mayors spot, who has bragging rights to this development?

    I believe the courts will rule that Maddy does, as the formidable 40 thousand dollar gate swings inward into District 7 not outward into District 6.

    P.S. Ly Tong, looking forward to seeing your support for Maddy!

  2. If people keep voting for these clowns, they deserve whatever messes result…

    Fear not, soon petroleum derived things will be banned, government workers (and pensions) will vanish and everyone will live in low-income housing! San Jose’s utopia will be complete.

  3. There’s that saying about fighting the last war.  No offense, but it certainly applies to the public safety folks in San Jose.

    Things may be bad and getting worse in San Jose, but that’s what I’m hearing about Sunnyvale and Santa Clara too.  And that’s just the petty crimes.  The news from Santa Cruz is heartbreaking.

    There’s something bigger happening.  We’re all going to have to work together, because leaving San Jose isn’t going to make it go away.

  4. It makes me sick to see her standing behind the podium of the San Jose Police Officers Association. The only reason she won that election is because public safety stood behind. She lied, and then back stab us.

    Look at all the other clowns back there, the sumo wrestler, the courageous one, the tax collector. The people that have destroyed the San Jose Police Department are standing in the POA hall.

    How can they even look themselves in the mirror everyday. Knowing they go out and spread lie’s and twist the truth. 

    Take Pete for instance, he writes a memo to get rid of pensions for the city council. Now that CalPERS has given the bill to the city for the buy out, now it’s to expensive to get rid of them. So, Pete gets to keep his pension, because he has vested rights. But he can volunteer to give it up, right? 

    The will never do the right thing, they put their lies on paper and they still get away with it.

    “Death before dishonor.”

    • It is so very telling that Measures V, W and B do not directly affect the pay/benefits of City management, appointed auditors nor the Councilmembers one iota.

  5. I dare say we won’t be seeing a picture like the one that accompanies this piece ever again… Nguyen speaking from a SJPOA podium with PLO, Nancy Pyle, Larry Stone and Pete Constant in the background.

    Always Remember…Never Forget.

  6. Josh,

    Are you kidding us with that photo, are news that slow.  SJPD hates that woman as much as Chuck, Sam, Pete, PO and the other idiots.

    Our city council plus a few sucks.  Josh, your starting to sound like the MN, your better than that.

    Just look at sam and PO posts this weeks.

    How about a story about two great SC officers how were killed this week.  Remember Simpson / Silva in SJ?

    Chuck could care less but our COP had a great response.

  7. Take an uneventful political career, hide behind one of the worst SJ mayors in history, and subtract the following of her own supposed power base, and you have a politician blindly declaring her candidacy.  Most residents are saying “Who”?

  8. Mrs. Nguyen ,congrats and thank you very much for deciding to take this responsibility to run for mayor of San Jose in 2014.  Council member Nguyen would make a great mayor!!! She is a very humble and caring elected official. She has worked hard since she was young girl. She is a clear example that a recipe for success in this great country is working hard and caring for others; I am proud of her. We need people like her who can understand our needs during these difficult times. Why all this hate? I understand people have a right to be frustrated but I kindly ask to make an informed opinion about her. I did research on her, I asked her to meet with me, I read her book “Vietnam to America: My Journey of Dreams” , and I asked trusted people about her and I got only positive input which helped me greatly to understand why she will be a great mayor. I am going to support her with all of my heart. Thank you, from a former refugee, now proud American citizen

  9. Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen got my support and the support of the young people of San Jose. People focus too much on one thing that they done like about the Vice Mayor. Such as the recall of 2009 which she won handily, but like she said that is “water under the bridge” so let the past be. I think it is only fair to look at someone ENTIRE track record instead of focus too much on one or two thing. Thanks to the Vice Mayor many young girl will have a dress for prom and Tully road/101 south is not a parking half the day. Overall, she will get things done! and don’t have the “someone else will do it” attitude. Madison Nguyen got the experience, the education, and the RIGHT attitude to be the next Mayor of San Jose!

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