Caserta Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate
By Robert Haugh
Dominic Caserta started strong. But now his campaign is stumbling.
Caserta made a big splash by raising $250,000 last year before any other candidate got into the race to succeed termed-out County Supervisor Ken Yeager.
Caserta apparently told supporters that the goal was to scare any other good candidate(s) from getting into the race. That strategy failed. After Caserta’s announcement, at least four other good candidates jumped in: former Campbell Mayor Jason Baker, San Jose Unified School Board Trustee Susan Ellenberg, former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, and San Jose councilman Don Rocha. At least four of the five known candidates are on track to raise the maximum $250,000.
Then, Caserta lost possibly his best endorsement: Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor. She’s the most popular political figure in the Mission City and Caserta needs to win in his hometown to have any chance of getting into the runoff. San Jose registered voters are approximately 60 percent of the district. Santa Clara registered voters are approximately 24 percent. Campbell registered voters are approximately 12 percent. The rest live in unincorporated areas.
The “un-endorsement” was messy. Caserta made a big deal about Gillmor texting him. We criticized Gillmor for texting, rather than talking to Caserta. He has a right to be annoyed. But by highlighting it, Caserta made it a bigger story. Do you really want more people to know that an important top endorser just dumped you?
Maybe not, because the Caserta campaign kept using Gillmor on mailers as Ramona Giwargis of the Mercury News reported yesterday. Bad move. That got him more bad press.
Furthermore, Caserta lost the endorsement of Don Gage who he highlighted on his campaign website. Then, other endorsers that he also highlights have decided to endorse other candidates. We previously reported how former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen is triple endorsing Caserta, Ellenberg, and Oliverio. Now, we’ve learned that another highlighted endorser, former State Senator Elaine Alquist, is dual endorsing Caserta and Rocha. Is this a sign that supporters are concerned about the Caserta campaign?
Other candidates seem to think Santa Clara is up for grabs. Oliverio did a smart thing by taking a position opposing the 49ers push to lift the weekday stadium curfew. That’s an issue that will win a lot of votes in the Mission City. It’s also a major contrast to Caserta, who voted with the 49ers.
We want to see Caserta be competitive. He’s working really hard and walking lots of precincts with volunteers, we’re told. Santa Clara has never elected a County Supervisor to Seat #4. It would be nice for Mission City voters to have a choice. But unless the Caserta campaign gets it’s act together, we won’t.