Endorsements for Supervisorial Candidates — Who Makes the Grade?
By Robert Haugh
The primary election to replace Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager is still 10 months away, but the candidates have lined up some key endorsements. Here’s how we grade them:
Susan Ellenberg — Grade: B+
She’s done a nice job in a short period of time getting endorsements and raising money. Some of Ellenberg’s key endorsements are:
- Former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer
- Former Santa Clara County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado
- Former Santa Clara County Supervisor Dianne McKenna
- Former Santa Clara County Supervisor Susanne Wilson
- Former Federal Elections Commission Chair Ann Ravel
We see a pattern here. If Ellenberg can unite women voters using her endorsements as a calling card, she’ll be in the runoff. A complete list is on her website.
Pierluigi Oliverio — Grade: B
Oliverio is clearly staking out the fiscal conservative vote and may be able to coalesce Republican voters using some good names. Here are his key endorsements (list provided by the candidate):
- Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed
- San Jose City Councilwoman Devora Davis
- San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis
- Former Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage
- Former Assemblymember Jim Cunneen
Cunneen initially endorsed Santa Clara Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta. Then, he co-endorsed Ellenberg, as we reported last week. Recently, he “triple endorsed” Oliverio. Gage also initially endorsed Caserta before switching to Oliverio.
Dominic Caserta — Grade: B-
Caserta has some good endorsements, and has the most overall endorsements (over 2,000 according to Caserta), but stumbled by losing Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Gage, and by Cunneen triple endorsing. But Caserta still has some good names and has the best bipartisan support. However, he gets downgraded for losing key endorsements.
Caserta’s top endorsements are:
- Former Congressman Norm Mineta (Democrat)
- Former Congressman Tom Campbell (Republican)
- Assemblyman Kansen Chu
- Former County Supervisor Pete McHugh
- Santa Clara City Councilwoman Patty Mahan
Jason Baker — Grade: B-
He’s got a nice list of mayors and vice mayors and probably the best geographic diversity of all the candidates. For voters who want someone who can work on regional issues, Baker’s endorsements will help him. Here are some key endorsers:
- Campbell Mayor Elizabeth Gibbons
- Cupertino Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan
- Sunnyvale Mayor Glen Hendricks
- Campbell Vice Mayor Paul Resnikoff
- Cupertino City Council member & former Mayor Rod Sinks
We’re giving Baker some extra credit on his grade because we think his chances of landing the endorsement of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is quite good, as we’ve previously reported.
Don Rocha — Grade: INC
Many people consider him the frontrunner, or the most likely to be in the runoff, including us. But Rocha’s endorsement game, and website, are lagging.
Our sources still think he’ll get the Labor endorsement, unless Labor decides to split resources between Rocha and Caserta – which would bump Caserta’s grade up. We also hear that Rocha may announce the support of three current County Supervisors: Dave Cortese, Cindy Chavez, and Yeager, the incumbent. All these endorsements will improve his grade substantially.
Other endorsements that could improve a candidate’s grade — or tip the election:
- Gillmor — she’s currently the most popular politician in Santa Clara, the second largest area in the District.
- Mercury News –they are important in San Jose (57 percent of the District), though not so much in Santa Clara and Campbell.
- Santa Clara News Online — we’ll likely be doing an endorsement sometime next year.
- Santa Clara Weekly — just kidding, it’d be like getting a Trump endorsement.