The next general election may be almost two years out, but the race to take over Santa Clara County’s District 1 Supervisor seat is already starting to take shape.
Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie filed county paperwork late last month to declare his plan to run for the seat, going head-to-head with Johnny Khamis, the former San Jose councilman who started campaigning last September. Board of Supes President Mike Wasserman will term out of the seat in 2023.
The district covers parts of San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and unincorporated areas in the county.
Though the seat is technically nonpartisan, it has been held by a Republican for more than two decades, which bodes well for Khamis, a onetime well-known Republican, who now identifies as having No Party Preference, a switch he made shortly following President Donald Trump's election.
Rennie, meanwhile, got the local Democratic Party endorsement in his last bid for Los Gatos Town Council. But he was also endorsed by Khamis and business groups in that campaign, a sign Rennie may be able to woo a more conservative constituency.
Khamis, who lost his bid for the California State Senate District 15 seat during the 2020 primaries, has raised about $62,000 so far and started gathering endorsements and support from local mayors and his former colleagues in San Jose. He’s already putting feelers out for future staffers, he told Fly.
Rennie hasn’t filed fundraising paperwork with the county yet and wasn’t available to comment Tuesday. But it’s still early and political insiders say they expect the race to get even more heated as more candidates join the fray.
Khamis is bracing for the same. “I don't think [Rennie] is going to be the only Democrat, quite frankly,” he said. “I don't know if there's any Republicans but I am steadily locking up all the Republican who’s-who in the county.”