Endorsements for Supervisorial Candidates — Who Makes the Grade? (Opinion)

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

A complete list of endorsements is on his website.

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.

A complete list of endorsements is on his website.

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.









  1. I sincerely hope that those who will vote read all of these comments. Reading the endless tirades and whining about coverage “not being fair” on here about certain candidates will do much more harm than it will good to the average voter. Talk about petty! I wanted to know who was running for Yaegers seat when I learned he was termed out and i didn’t know all the names which led me here. Now I’m disappointed, not in the coverage, but the comments I find truly petty.

    • You talk about Caserta burning out, which I guess is some observation you made with some expertise, and say there is nothing bad about Ellenberg. Well if we can read all this stuff about Caserta’s, associations, then we need to know about Ellenberg, yes? Petty? Rating a guy who wanted to keep money from a library, as an important endorsement is not a great analysis. None of the comments I or others have made have not been backed up by articles. You just don’t like it when the same standard is used on others that is being used on caserta, and I am supporting Rocha. This prediction that Baker is being backed Liccardo is also worth shredding.

    • Nope. I commented on a blog several days ago that it was more probable for Caserta’s campaign to burn out, not that he was or is. I also personally requested more background information on both Rocha and Ellemberg. Although I didn’t single you out your response clearly indicates that you take these comments and this man’s opinion based blog personally. You have, for example, commented 9 times on this one article alone. Each comment was long winded and just shy of being incoherent. Your comments seem to be about what you wish the article was about and not what it actually is about. If you have that much to say I suggest you start your own blog and back it up with your “articles” and see how much insufferable commentary you attract.

  2. All of Oliverio’s endorsements are clients of his consultant
    Tough work he showed just asking his guy to bring them. Talk about Republicans,what is Gage?

  3. Caserta used to be a registered Republican. He has no principles. Now he’s attacking Republicans and says he’s with Labor. Can you trust someone who changes parties and pressures developers for money then votes for their projects.

    Who’s going to run his campaign? Steve Bannon? Reince Priebus? SO SAD.

    — The Mooch

    • Republicans

      Norm Mineta
      Don Edwards

      Candidates with money from developers

      Bannon? He ran a news site that stretches the truth. Caserta not being endorsed by Santa Clara BREITBART
      Ps, Trump gave 58% more to Democrats prior to 2008.

    • Rocha received 1000 from a lobbyist opposing street lighting contract, prior to this, Rocha has never supported rival group. Oliverio has over 30 grand from developers so far.

    • There is a pattern here. SAN JOSE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE becomes the recipient of favorable articles, now Ellenberg gets the clear path to support here, where does she work? Oh, and who works for Ellenberg, but Whitehurst who funds interesting things. Polls, news sites, etc. There is a pattern, near a sycamore tree

    • If you knew Dominic one thing is clear with him he fights hard for what he believes in! Like raising the minimum wage and supporting the historic preservation ordinance in SC both issues developers are generally against!

      So you can say whatever you want about Caserta’s registration 20 years ago Oliverio Caserta is a fighter for the people that is why he has so much labor support! Follow the moneyclaborbis with Caserta not Rocha and business is split between Caserta and Oliverio.

      And Caserta never changed the spelling of his name to get elected Piere whatever…

      Caserta Oliverio general election would be fantastic a clear choice for votes that would be a great wrestling match as Robert likes to cite.

      And in that cage match Oliverio loses for a fourth time in a row Caserta wins by 8-12 points!

    • Amazing Dominic got a B minus. I would have predicted he would get a note to see the principal from this guy. As a legislator, Caserta gets an A minus, minimum wage, housing, etc. As a political analysis, this site gets about a C minus with a behavior note

    • You see that is the thing. We hear all about Ellsberg and civic engagement on this site, but then we learn that Susan Ellenberg has hired a controversial consulting firn, Whitehurst and Mosher, investigated by San Francisco, Richmond and Berkeley authorities for ethical problems involving their clients Chevron, Mirant, and landlords failing to disclose millions, trying to use elected officials to raise money, working with big oil. So we wonder about how civic is this

  4. FACTS:

    Caserta has never won a primary. He lost to Paul Fong (Paul Fong!)

    Caserta has never won a competitive race. He lost to Paul Fong (Paul Fong!)

    No one from Santa Clara has ever won this Supe seat.

    San Jose represents almost 60 percent of voters.

    Caserta has never been endorsed by the Mercury News so he can’t win many votes in San Jose.

    • Well Rod Diridon won it from Saratoga and then moved to Santa Clara, where he was re-elected. Vasconcellos and Alquist lived in Santa Clara. Mahan was never a favorite of Merc. If Rocha gets Yeager, then it is a new race. Is Don Gage even an elected official anymore? P.s. Gage is also a client of Oliverio’s consultant. Big loss.

    • Robert is correct Caserta had the most bipartisan support which is needed to win District 4. That will help him immensely in this race. Rocha is too left Oliverio way too right and Baker and Ellenberg won’t get any institutional support!

      Caserta wins…

    • Caserta lost in a closed primary finishing second in a four person race to Fong for Assembly fishing in ahead of Kris Wang and Anna Song! Caserta has won four elections in a row in SC. He will do very well in San Jose as evidenced by his strong reception so far from his walking and his connections their educationally and family roots in San Jose. He went to School in Cambrian and Bellarmine and SCU!

      Caserta wins should not be taken lightly he beat credible people without Gillmor’s endorsement in the last one too!

      Caserta will make the runoff and win!

    • Hmm, 2006, Caserta beats Hardy, yes? Competitive

      Caserta beats some guy from Santa Clara, Kevin something, competitive.

      Now I know how Caserta could get the endorsement from Santa Clara News. MILES BARBER ENDORSES OLIVERIO, ELLENBERG AND BAKER. ps, Rocha may pivot and run against Liccardo as labor choice
      Chappie Jones represents more of district than Rocha. Mercury News did not endorse Diridon either.

    • 2008 otto lee with mercury news endorsement loses to Dave Cortese, for Supervisor. This news site neglected for caserta to list Davis and Watanabe as well as O’Neill. Why?

  5. If Caserta is starting with 2,000 endorsements, a seriously dubious claim, he will end the campaign with less than 100 at the rate he’s losing endorsements. He’s an endorsement LOSER not gainer.

    but the real story is about the rumors about him as a teacher.

    • Ok, what rumors. Caserta is a Nazi? He goes to the Burning Man? He has an armed team to seize control of West Bedding? What, what, and what? Oliverio has the same website up for months. Jason Baker works for Evan Low. Low with Scott Wiener back a bill to extend curfews at bars to 4 am. Oh, as said earlier, the 49ers own Wiener, Baker’ s main guy. I like Rocha, but let us stop the rumors to come out rumors to come out means What? Rumors to come out about Ellenberg’s work at the French spy mission in Morrocco. Enough!

    • What rumors? Caserta is a distinguished tenured teacher who is loved at Santa Clara High School your rumors disgusting! Winning teacher of the year the past two years in a row shame on you Oliverio you are disgusting no wonder you have lost three in a row.

    • Count down’s comment 👉👉but the real story is about the rumors about him as a teacher👈👈👈 will someone please let us know what the rumors are about caserta as a teacher??!!! Seeing Caserta’s reply
      👉👉 your rumors disgusting! Winning teacher of the year the past two years in a row shame on you Oliverio you are disgusting👈👈👈
      Caserta??? What is the disgusting rumor?? Something that voters should know about?? 😂😂😂🍿

  6. Labor will split their endorsement between Rocha and Caserta. They will both miss the runoff because the other candidates are better and have more resources. Then Oliverio or Ellenberg will win the runoff. Finally we will have a 3 vote majority of people on the Board of Supes who can count and balance budgets and stop funding expensive pensions and benefits.

    • Caserta will make the runoff, he has the most resources (endorsements, financial resources, and most importantly) volunteers. In a bipartisan race, Caserta has the support of Dems and Reps, business and labor.

    • Robert pls report on things that did happen not may happen with speculation. For example, Rocha will not get labor nor get Chavez and Yeager and Bake will not get Liccardo. And Oliverio has immense baggage that concerns maybe business leaders especially his sexual harassment issues. Pls report the facts!

    • Yeager is the incumbent and popular, and though I believe Lisa Gillmor is the gold standard, Yeager has the blue star endorsement here. You rate Ellenberg so high, yet none of the endorsements, with the exception of Hammer lives in District 4. Indeed, you rate Cunneen who is connected with developers and the very people you claim to oppose, high. Funny. As for Don Gage, ask Ms Watanabe about Gage, and that endorsement is not PLO’s site.

      Your bias is as flaming as Trump, indeed Santa Clara News seems to follow BREITBART style rather than Slate’s. Obviously, you will not endorse Caserta. Liccardo has no reason to get Jason Baker in the runoff, but plenty of reasons to get Rocha and Oliverio there. You neglect Ellenberg’s job at Chamber.

      I do not get the Weekly, few people do, and if I did I would use it for my cat, but as rating articles go, you get a C minus.

    • Endorsements, where is Chappie? District 1 in San Jose is the big slice. Caserta could running against a seagull and this guy would be backing the seagull. Now people say Jeff Sessions is more political than Ed Meese. Look up Vic Ajlouny, Oliverio guy, and Ed Meesw. Now we read about endorsements and note Ellenberg has endorsements from people who were in 15 years ago.

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