District Attorney Jeff Rosen Has Friends in High (Tech) Places

District Attorney Jeff Rosen has been touting his swollen campaign piggy bank to the press as a warning to potential challengers in 2014, and a re-election fundraiser hosted by beer distributor and philanthropist Mike Fox Sr. earlier this month, which included former San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore among guests, only added to the $131,000-plus Rosen raised in the first six months of this year. But word is the DA’s already strong chances of staying in office will get the kind of Series-A funding startups love. A group of Sand Hill tech investors are in the process of forming an independent expenditure (IE) committee to support Rosen, and they’ve approached Democratic operative Jude Barry to manage it. Barry, who was an early Rosen backer and advisor in 2010, won’t reveal details of the committee or whether or not he’s setting it up, although he acknowledges talks are in the works. “Jeff’s numbers are really good—his approval ratings and cash on hand—but everyone these days worries about independent expenditures,” Barry says. “I think Jeff’s backers want to neutralize or trump any effort against him.” Chuck Gillingham Jr., the porn-surfing prosecutor in Rosen’s office and son of the previous Santa Clara County sheriff, is posturing as a likely opponent, but there’s doubt whether he’ll have the financial backing to take a kamikaze run at Rosen. While Max Zarzana and Kevin Smith, president and treasurer of the county Government Attorneys Association, have reportedly been pushing Gillingham to hop in the Zero bomber, it’s questionable how much money the union will be able to throw at the race after spending tens of thousands on Cindy Chavez’ successful supervisor campaign. The South Bay Labor Council and other natural allies—even if Gillingham is a Republican—will likely spend their dollars bankrolling Dave Cortese in the San Jose mayor’s race and keeping Xavier Campos on the council. Insiders say it could take almost a million dollars to unseat Rosen, with nearly half of that needed for the primary. That kind of ludicrous cash denomination could go into Rosen’s IE alone, according to a source: “They can fund a countywide campaign with what they spend annually on golf fees.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

One Comment

  1. I voted for Rosen because he wasn’t Carr.  Since being in office he’s shown some guts with the Shirakawa thing and other stuff.  He’s still got my vote.