Here Are the Local Winners, Likely Winners and Likely Opponents from Primary Vote

The ballots are still being counted – an estimated 40% remain to be tallied – by county election officials, but by March 8, three candidates could comfortably be declared outright winners.

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan won his re-election March 5, with more than 87% of the vote. Election law dictates that candidates in local elections who get more than 50% of the primary votes are winners – they don’t need to be in a November runoff election.

That rule also applies to 4th District San Jose City Councilmember David Cohen, whose 60-40 margin over his lone primary opponent this week, former Councilmember Kansen Chu, likely means Cohen’s re-election is secure and he won’t have to have a rematch in November.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee knew his re-election was guaranteed three months ago, when he discovered he had no opposition at the filing deadline. The primary election vote made that official.

In the 16th District congressional race, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s 5,000-plus lead over Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian grew steadily after the first primary tallies. Simitian clung to a 1,500-vote lead over Assemblymember Evan Low.

In addition to the three outright winners in the March primary, another 10 local politicians emerged from the early ballot counts as shoo-ins for November, because they are already comfortably separated from their opponents.

Local incumbent members of Congress – Ro Khanna, Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta – are in this group because of their insurmountable leads.

Among candidates for the California Senate and Assembly, most local legislative incumbents are likely to coast to victory in eight months because of their strong showings in the primary: Josh Becker and Dave Cortese in the Senate, and Marc Berman, Alex Lee, Ash Kalra, Gail Pellerin and Robert Rivas in the Assembly.

As ballot-counting passed the halfway point at week’s end, the candidates for the November runoffs are set for nearly all local races – except for the lingering uncertainty whether Joe Simitian or Evan Low will be Liccardo’s opponent for the coveted 16th congressional district, and the second-place toss-up in City Council District 2 between Pamela Campos and Babu Prasad.

Outright winners

  • Matt Mahan, San Jose Mayor
  • David Cohen, San Jose City Council
  • Otto Lee, Santa Clara County Supervisor

Local Shoo-ins in November


  • Ro Khanna
  • Zoe Lofgren
  • Jimmy Panetta


  • Josh Becker
  • Dave Cortese


  • Marc Berman
  • Alex Lee
  • Ash Kalra
  • Gail Pellerin
  • Robert Rivas

Ready for November


  • Sam Liccardo

San Jose City Council

  • Joe Lopez
  • Michael Mulcahy/ Olivia Navarro
  • Domingo Candelas/ Tam Truong
  • Arjun Batra/ George Casey

Santa Clara County Supervisors

  • Madison Nguyen/ Betty Duong
  • Margaret Abe-Koga/ Sally Lieber



  • Joe Simitian/ Evan Low

City Council

  • Pamela Campos/ Babu Prasad

This report has been updated, as of noon, March 8.

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.

One Comment

  1. What people really want to know is, what happened to Rebecca Eisenberg? Is her hand smarting from a slap? Is she wearing censure like a scarlet letter? Will we be seeing a booking photo or is taking 2,000 pages of copies less than $950 and not a crime? Or is Valley Water back to business, spending billions on dams as usual?

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