With the vast majority of ballots counted and David Cohen holding an 863-vote lead over San Jose Councilman Lan Diep, it’s safe to say Mayor Sam Liccardo lost his one-vote majority on the City Council.
With the 11-member body tilting into 2021 with a 6-5 advantage for labor, it’ll be tougher for the mayor to secure enough support to advance his agenda.
That puts Liccardo in much the same position he found himself in 2017, when he lost two reliable allies when Manh Nguyen failed re-election and Rose Herrera termed out. And just as he did a few years ago by appointing East Side Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco as vice mayor, Liccardo, come January, will likely use the largely symbolic honorific to marshal votes from across the aisle.
It’s too soon to get official word of who Sam’s considering for the job.
One insider tells Fly it would behoove the mayor to opt for a woman of color, like Maya Esparza or Sylvia Arenas. Granted, the D7 and D8 reps have locked horns enough times with the mayor that he’d have to swallow his pride to pick either one.
“Maya especially has been unafraid to battle the mayor,” a city staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fly. “That’s a good thing. Question is: could Sam handle it?”
The more likely picks are no doubt Sergio Jimenez or Raul Peralez.
Peralez, who’s eyeing a mayoral run in 2022, would be a logical choice. But again: political divisions that manifest in countless split votes and verbal clashes on the dais this past year may have soured Sam on his District 3 successor.
Jimenez—the labor-aligned representative of District 2, which spans the vast suburban reaches of the city’s South Side—could end up being the most amenable choice for the mayor’s de facto veep. “Sergio makes sense,” a City Hall insider observes. “He’s a strong progressive but is still willing to work with the other side.”