Three Candidates Will Be on 16th District Ballot in November

This report was updated at 5pm, April 4.

Evan Low and Joe Simitian each received 30,249 votes for the runner-up spot for California's 16th Congressional District, ensuring that both will be on the November ballot.

That’s the report from election officials in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties Thursday afternoon, April 4, who filed their “final, certified, official" results from the March 5 primary with the California Secretary of State.

Sam Liccardo, candidate, 16th Congressional District, led the field. Liccardo campaign photo

Barring the discovery by the Secretary of State in the next 10 days of a rare counting error – or changes discovered in a manual recount sought and paid for by Low or Simitian – voters will choose from among three candidates for the coveted Silicon Valley congressional seat: former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Simitian and Low.

The official results for all results from the primary will be declared final on April 15, with an announcement from the Secretary of State's office.

According to state law: “If only one candidate receives the highest number of votes cast but there is a tie vote among two or more candidates receiving the second highest number of votes cast, each of those second-place candidates shall be a candidate at the ensuing general election along with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast, regardless of whether there are more candidates at the general election than prescribed by this article."

Assemblymember Evan Low, candidate in 16th Congressional District. Evan Low campaign.

One final signature recorded in the final hour of ballot counting in San Mateo County on Tuesday erased Low's one-vote lead.

“I am honored to have won the support of our community to advance to the general election to replace the esteemed Anna Eshoo for Congress now that the Registrars of Voters have certified the results," Low said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“This historically close race shows that every vote really counts," he said.

“Thank you for this victory," Simitian said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon. “Thanks to those who cast their vote in support of my candidacy. Thanks to my supporters who made this win possible. And thanks to the folks who spent the last month actually counting the votes, the election officials who made sure that our American democracy works."

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, candidate for 16th Congressional District.

“Sometimes it takes a while for democracy to work, Simitian said. “This has been one of those times. Call it a cliffhanger, a rollercoaster, a wild ride — but it has absolutely been worth the wait!"

The Liccardo campaign has not released a statement on the final results.

Liccardo held a comfortable 8,240-vote lead for the top spot on the November ballot, and has already begun piling up new endorsements and campaign cash in preparation for an eight-month campaign.

Liccardo led his two top opponents by 4.5 percentage points, but nearly 60% of the district's registered voters stayed home in the March 5 vote. The presidential election turnout is likely to be more than twice the primary vote.

Simitian had led by varying handfuls of votes in the final harrowing week leading up to today’s count. That flipped on the final day of counting, then rebounded into the tie confirmed today

The totals updated daily reflected the acceptance of signatures collected after the election on ballots that had been submitted but not signed four weeks ago. About half of the unsigned ballots were eventually signed – or “cured” in electoral parlance – after the voters were contacted, according to state law, by election officials.

The Santa Clara final report was released on Tuesday, 24 minutes after the 5pm deadline for submitting signatures. But the San Mateo County Clerk/Assessor reported its totals a full hour before the 5pm deadline, leaving open the possibility of signatures arriving between 4pm and 5pm that could change Tuesday’s outcome – and one did, creating a tie for second place.

The deadline for the decision whether to seek a recount is April 9. A recount could cost the requesting candidate – not taxpayers – as much as $500,000. California law includes no provision for automatic recounts.


Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. So much for the FINAL vote a couple of days ago. Persist, you Low cheerleaders.

    Just understand: the suspense isn’t gripping the attention of most.

  2. I love the arrogance of Simitian to declare victory on election night, then double-down on his claim the next week; only to lose. Just another Boomer with attitude. Time to retire

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