Liccardo Calls for Taxpayer-Funded Automatic Recounts in Close Races

Breaking two weeks of near silence during a seemingly endless recount of 16th Congressional District ballots, March 5 frontrunner Sam Liccardo today doubled down on his assertion that he had nothing to do with the recount and joined the chorus of support for publicly funded automatic recounts.

In an op-ed essay published today in San Jose Inside, Liccardo also repeatedly bashed what he called the “Trumpian demagoguery” of opponent Evan Low – without directly naming the state Assemblymember from Campbell.

The official March 5 results left Low in a tie with Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, prompting a Liccardo supporter, tech executive Jonathan Padilla, to help create a political action committee to pay for a recount – ironically, on behalf of Low. Low then accused the former San Jose mayor of masterminding a secret recount scheme, presumably to benefit from a two-person campaign.

Election officials in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties said they expected to wrap up the recount of the March 5 ballots this week, which had left Liccardo with an insurmountable 8,200 lead.

If Low comes up short, trailing Simitian in the recount, Liccardo’s op-ed swipes will be his last against Low.

In the op-ed on the online news site, Liccardo wrote, with emphasis, “I did not request this recount.”

“Neither I nor anyone in my campaign has communicated with Padilla or his donors about the recount,” wrote Liccardo. “Candidates and their campaigns cannot lawfully communicate with independent expenditure groups.”

Election officials revealed that the daily recount fees – upwards of $100,000 – are being paid by a new independent expenditure committee, Count the Vote, which lists James Sutton of Rutan & Tucker, LLP as its treasurer. Another Rutan & Tucker lawyer, Matthew Alvarez, is listed as treasurer for Neighbors for Results, a separate PAC supporting Liccardo.

“The fact that Padilla is a supporter of mine is not remarkable,” wrote Liccardo in the op-ed. “We can presume that Padilla (and likely others) also did this for political reasons. If true, that hardly renders Padilla’s recount request illegitimate; it merely puts it in the same category as every other recount request in U.S. electoral history.”

Liccardo urged his fellow candidates – and the public – to embrace the results of the recount. At the same time, he called on the California Legislature and Congress to require automatic, publicly funded recounts in all close races.

“Counting votes is a public function,” the former mayor said. “It deserves complete public trust. It shouldn’t be funded by private parties and unavailable to those who lack the resources.”


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. Lifelong leftist grifter Saratoga Sam wants taxpayers to fund recounts rather than pay for it himself…

  2. Negative. The politicians, their elite donors, and their lobbyists can pay for the recount. Politicians constantly waste taxpayer money. Enough is enough! #Jungle

  3. Evan Low has shown his true colours.

    He is opposed to an accurate vote count! He’s opposed to election integrity.

    Hopefully, he is kept far away from Congress.

  4. Does anyone actually believe Liccardo?

    Liccardo says no one from his campaign communicated with those involved in the recount. Yet, James Sutton is a longtime lawyer for Liccardo, providing him privileged legal advice on campaign-related matters dating back more than a decade. Coincidence that Sutton’s name pops up along with Jonathan Padilla’s?

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