Ranking the County Supervisor Race: Caserta Moves Down, Baker Moves Up (OPINION)

Ranking the County Supervisor Race: Caserta Moves Down, Baker Moves Up

By Robert Haugh

The Mercury News dropped a bombshell in the 2018 Santa Clara County Supervisor race.

Ramona Giwargis reported this weekend that Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor pulled her endorsement of Dominic Caserta.  She did it in a text! What? Wow!

That doesn’t seem cool since Gillmor and Caserta go way back. He was a real estate agent at Gillmor Realty years ago. It seemed odd, so we asked both of them for the text exchange.

It looks like Giwargis, usually a reliable reporter, left out much of the first two lines from the Gillmor text. It’s not a big deal, but not good journalism either. The full text gives more context and is less harsh:

“Hello Dominic, after careful thought I have decided to ask you to remove my endorsement of your supervisorial campaign from your website .… I do not plan to endorse anyone else at the moment…. It is evident that you and I are not on the same page…. Please do not contact me.”

Caserta’s response:

“You are doing this in a text really wow.”

So the important questions now are:

  • Can Caserta even win Santa Clara?
  • Will Gillmor endorse someone else?
  • Will she do it by text?

Now’s a good time to update the race. We wrote in January when Caserta announced raising an impressive $250,000.

Since then, other good candidates have jumped in. Here’s Santa Clara News Online’s official rankings. The primary is June 2018, so things will likely change.

Ranking the Race for Santa Clara County Supervisor, 2018

  1. Don Rocha — The local political establishment considers him the front-runner. He’s from the biggest City in the district and still on the San Jose City Council. He’s also likely to get Labor’s endorsement.
  2. Jason Baker — He’s moved up because we have reliable sources saying San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will endorse him. (Baker’s response to us yesterday to the rumor: “He’s not on my current endorsement list.”)  He’s a former Campbell mayor, so he’ll need help in other places. Liccardo’s endorsement is like having Stone Cold Steve Austin in your corner.
  3. Pierluigi Oliverio — He’s been spotted in Santa Clara meetings recently. He asked a question at a Project for Public Spaces event at City hall. He moves up because we’re hearing the San Jose business community is uniting behind him. He’ll need their fundraising help because he’s out of office.
  4. Caserta — Raising a lot of money early was good. Losing the endorsement of a super popular Santa Clara mayor was bad. Will he lose others? Can he win his own City? He needs a base.
  5. Susan Ellenberg — She may move up if she remains the only woman in the field. No news so far about fundraising or key endorsements. She’s likely to have educators with her since she’s on the San Jose Unified school board. She also needs a base.


  1. This is such a biased and inaccurate piece on Caserta. Caserta has more endorsements, contributions, his website is the best in the race and he has numerous volunteers already walking for him.

    Caserta has won Santa Clara FOUR elections in a row even without Lisa Gillmor’s endorsement in 2014 and his commitment to Santa Clara students as Teacher of the Year will be the base he needs.

    Robert get your facts right he has labor and business support it is sad how inaccurate your reporting is AGAIN why can’t you say anything good about the ONLY Santa Claran in the race. On every objective benchmark Caserta is winning get it right pal!

    • Caserta also has very much divided his own constituents in Santa Clara on recent items. Support by monetary donations is different than endorsements.

      Despite some comments here, I have no objective here and have no hate toward Caserta.

      By the way, it’s not a reporters job to provide PR for someone … It’s our job to report on issues and allow readers to form their own opinions on local issues and people.

      Thanks for reading and for your comments and opinion.

    • Again how has Caserta divided the community the issues he has championed like worker reention was an unninius vote and minimum wage was 6-1.

      Again inaccurate to make Caserta look poor. You claim you report how is he ranked 4th when he has all the support that he has in Santa Clara with all council members and his volunteer base you mention none of that nor the fact that it is his campaign that has labor support not Rocha and that he has business support overwhelmingly more that PLO who had to deal with a sexual harassment lawsuit and seen on you tube stealing lawn signs.

      Again you are a cherry picking biased mouthpiece for Lisa sad!!!

    • Robert,
      Looks like you have generated a little bit of a firestorm with this post, but please try to save us from your sanctimonious nonsense. You got in for Caserta and it shows, and you full well know that your rhetoric only fuels the comments your “readers” make.

      Maybe try some integrity and lose your narrow-minded view, Santa Clara is no longer a “small town”, it is a world class city that has changed. Get with the times or get rolled over by them, better to work together than just be a negative gadfly for the ignorant fools.

    • And show me one instances in your reporting where you have been critical of the appointed mayor? You are biased and an echo chamber for the divisive leadership of Lisa so sad!!!

      Caserta is accessible,
      diligent and independent! He is the only chance we have to get a Santa Claran on the county board something we need and deserve especially after we got screwed in the RDA wind down you are so inaccurate on the race Caserta and Ellenberg are the front runners!

      When have you been critical of Lisa? Ever?

    • If Caserta is the only Santa Claran, God help us. We don’t need the 49ers gaining more influence. They own too much of the city now and don’t respect our curfews. I like Liccardo and therefore will strongly consider voting for Baker. I also like Gillmor and will strongly consider her endorsed candidate. Please let us know who that is.

    • Caserta has shown independence from the niners voting for the audit, showing his concern about not following the council curfew for the U2 concert as an example.

    • Again Robert pls show us ONE article or even comment where you have been critical of the appointed Mayor just one? And tell us one article where ju have been complimentary of Caserta Mahan or Kolstad? Just one? You won’t!!! Sadat you are doing is unnecessarily divided our city like Lisa!

    • I have complimented Caserta, Mahan and Kolstad several times. Maybe read more than a few columns I’ve written.

      I have been criticical and complimentary to many folks. Take a look back …

  2. As a member of the Santa Clara business community, I am happy to hear that Mr. Dominic Caserta will lose the support of the business community. He has been the primary proponent of driving up the cost of local businesses through short sighted and ill conceived measures. What is particularly galling is his attempt to court us and demonstrate that he’s a friend of business. Nothing could be further from the truth. He would be an unmitigated disaster in higher office.

  3. Robert,
    First, you slam Ramona for her journalism style, yet your “reporting” on local issues has clearly been biased, and this is quite extreme case of it. Caserta, like most elected leaders deserve a watchful eye and criticism, but you seem to omit any discussion about Lisa and her strong arm tactics, and how her endorsement withdrawal might be more of her pettiness because Caserta won’t bow to her every demand.

    As for the other candidates in this race, I would hope you look as deep into other candidates like Oliverio’s less than honorable treatment of women in his office, and around the community. I did some digging into the money raised by Caserta, while he did receive money from businesses, he also raised money from unions, and with Rocha’s vote on pension reform in San Jose, picking up that labor endorsement might not be as easy as you think.

    Your journalistic integrity keeps eroding, even as you try to hide under the cloak of opinion. There’s always tomorrow and hopefully if you want to be taken seriously in Silicon Valley, you drop your pettiness and NIMBYism nonsense, but then maybe you are just the local gadfly mouthpiece for the appointed Mayor.

    • Thank you for reading and thanks for your comments. You appear only to comment when Caserta is written about. That’s quite interesting …

      Not sure where you get that I’m a part of the NIMBY movement. I simply report on issues pertinent to Santa Clara. Development projects have been one such thing very much being discussed in Santa Clara.

      I actually thoroughly enjoy Ramona’s reporting of local issues. I think in this instance, an important part of “text gate” was omitted from her writing. She is an shading journalist and she is a quite refreshing voice in the Silicon Valley. I felt the Evette text should have been published.

      My focus is Santa Clara, and Caserta is a Santa Claran, but it’s alarming when he loses the support of the Mayor.

      I’m Here as a watchdog journalist. Not to make friends. I’ve criticized almost everyone around town – including Council member Teresa O’Neill.

      Unlike in other forums, despite you not sharing your name, I allow comments and criticism openly. I believe in hearing all perspectives on the issues – not just of those from one side.

      Thanks again for reading.

    • Robert,
      I have provided my name, but as you see with online comments around Silicon Valley, people get quite nasty, so I omit my last name because I would prefer to not have my neighbors harassing me and my family. As for my commenting choices, would you be less suspicious of me if I commented on your wanderings posts? How about a touch of introspection and maybe wonder that I comment on Caserta postings because those make up the bulk of your biased posts.

      Maybe its a gender thing and sexism is trying to harass me off of your page. You may “hear” various perspectives, but you are clearly pushing one that is very biased and neglects the views of those that do not want to cower to you, kind of like the appointed Mayor. But I am open to being proven wrong, maybe tomorrow you will write a piece about Lisa and some of her less than savory dealings around town, or maybe you won’t and we can continue this charade about your “watchdogging”.

    • Diane,

      I think Ramona is one of the best reporters around. But she made an error if she left out sentences from the Lisa Gillmor text. As for my “bias,” I have to say that I write an opinion column. I agree with most of what Lisa Gillmor has done because I think her direction is good for the city. But I’ll criticize her when I think it’s valid. Endorsing or unendorsing someone is not really a big deal to me. I did write in the column that I didn’t think it was cool that she did it in a text. But do I think it was “petty?” If she unendorsed Caserta because he voted for the 49ers’ position on the creek trail controversy which the timing suggests, then I don’t think it’s petty. That’s a really important issue for our community. Maybe Lisa’s reasons will come out later. If it’s something petty, I’ll say so. If it’s substantive, I’ll say so. Stay tuned and thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. I agree with Richard Bonito. Caserta doesn’t have any support in my neighborhood. Kevin Park won my neighborhood over him. If he’s supported by the 49ers he won’t get one vote.

  5. I can’t imagine that Santa Clara supports Dominic. This poser has done more for the 49ers and the apartment association than the residents of Santa Clara.
    It’s clear Dominic is out for himself.

Leave a Reply