County Supe Race Rankings: Caserta Loses Another Santa Clara Endorsement
By Robert Haugh
It’s still early. There’s still almost nine months until the June, 2016 primary. We don’t expect there to be a lot of news in the race to succeed termed-out Supervisor Ken Yeager. But there were some interesting developments nonetheless.
The big news, especially for the Mission City, is that Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe unendorsed Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta. This is not good news for the Caserta campaign, since Watanabe is the first representative from the Northside and is really popular in that area of the city. This makes it even harder for Caserta to win Santa Clara, a “must do” for him if he is to have any shot at making the run-off. No word yet on why Watanabe unendorsed Caserta — and if she did it by text.
As our readers know, Caserta has had some problems — to put it mildly — with endorsements. First, it was Mayor Lisa Gillmor who unendorsed him.
Then, it was Don Gage.
Then, former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen who is a featured endorser on Caserta’s website, endorsed other people, too.
So did former State Senator Elaine Alquist, also a featured endorser on the Caserta website. LINK
To be fair to Caserta, he still has a lot of good endorsements listed on his website, like former Congressman Norm Mineta.
But nine months is a long time. The campaign needs to stop the endorsement bleeding or the campaign brochures will need a lot of White Out.
With that un-endorsement news, here’s an update on our rankings.
#1. Pierluigi Oliverio, former San Jose Councilman. He retains his top position from last month’s ranking.
Oliverio seems to think Santa Clara is an important city in the district (we agree), so he’s taken a position against lifting the weekday stadium curfew and he’s showing up at key events like the weekly Rotary Luncheon, the Franklin Square Street Dance and the Northside stadium curfew discussion that was scheduled and cancelled last week by City Staff.
#2. Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District Board of Education Vice President. She moves up from No. 3 last month on the strength of some new endorsements: former State Senator Becky Morgan (adding to an impressive list of female endorsers), former Santa Clara Planning Commissioner J. Byron Fleck (who also was an anti-Measure J leader and still has a following) and former Judge LaDoris Cordell who recently led the task force to investigate the County Jail. Ellenberg says she will be at the Annual Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival on both days.
#3. Don Rocha, San Jose Councilman. He started off as our frontrunner. We still think he’s a good bet to make the runoff. A lot of the smart money is on him to win important endorsements from Labor (which could be split with Caserta) and the incumbent Supervisor Yeager. He shared with us his endorsement list. These are the top names: State Senator Jim Beall, Alquist and County Supervisor Dave Cortese. Rocha got off to a slow fundraising start compared to the other candidates. But there’s a plenty of time to catch up before voters start focusing. The Rocha campaign is not doing much in Santa Clara which could hurt him. That’s why we put him in third for now.
#4. Jason Baker, former Campbell Vice Mayor. We like Baker as a sleeper pick to make the runoff. He has some nice roots in Santa Clara and could do well here. And he’s recently lined up Santa Clara University interns for his campaign which should help. But, Baker is lagging in fundraising. That could change with some major endorsements. Baker promises to reveal some new names soon. We’ll keep on eye on this campaign.
#5. Dominic Caserta, Santa Clara Vice Mayor. We’d like to see Caserta move up the rankings and give Santa Clarans an opportunity to elect a County Supervisor for the first time in the city’s history. The campaign is stumbling. But there’s plenty of time to turn it around, especially if the volunteers don’t have to spend time whiting out names on brochures.
Editor’s Note: We asked all the candidates to take a position the weekday stadium curfew, an important issue for Santa Clarans. We’ll print their answers in the coming days.