The Santa Clara-based San Francisco 49ers have completed their draft pick in the San Jose mayoral election. The selection of second-time mayoral hopeful Cindy Chavez, the Santa Clara County supervisor who is currently leading in the polls, comes with a $300,000 independent expenditure.
The 49ers and Chavez developed a relationship during the county’s Covid-19 mass vaccination program at Levi’s Stadium in the first half of 2021. More than 350,000 vaccinations were administered at the stadium.
The previous year, the football team’s owners spent more than $3 million to elect four city council candidates for Santa Clara City Council—Suds Jain, Harbir Bhatia, Kevin Park and Anthony Becker—and oppose candidates aligned with Santa Clara mayor and persistent 49ers adversary Lisa Gillmor. The independent expenditures went to a committee established by former congressman Mike Honda, a Chavez supporter and longtime ally.
In December, executives Jed York and Al Guido announced that they were supporting Chavez’s bid to become mayor of the city next door. In a statement released to San Jose Inside, San Francisco 49ers EVP for Communications & Public Affairs Rahul Chandhok said, “We are proud to support Cindy Chavez’s campaign to become the first Latina Mayor of San Jose. Supervisor Chavez demonstrated exemplary leadership during the pandemic and was instrumental in launching California’s largest vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium last year. As an organization with roots that extend to San Jose and beyond, we’re supporting Supervisor Chavez because we’re confident she will take action on the South Bay’s most pressing issues such as housing affordability and public safety.”
Three current members of the San Jose City Council also seek to ascend to the mayor’s office: Dev Davis, Matt Mahan and Raul Peralez. District 10 representative Matt Mahan has led in early fundraising lead, with 894 donors contributing $504,169 as of the end of December.
“The status quo are running scared,” Mahan said when he learned of the independent expenditure. “They understand that people are looking around and asking themselves who is responsible for growing homelessness, untreated mental illness and addiction and rising crime, and that Cindy Chavez has been in power for nearly 30 years. She can’t run on her record, so she’s running on her connections.”