By Robert Haugh
It’s almost exactly a year until we elect a candidate to replace termed-out County Supervisor Ken Yeager. The big news since our last report are some interesting endorsements and un-endorsements.
Here’s an update on rankings and candidate activities:
#1. Pierluigi Oliverio, former San Jose Councilman.
He stays in the top slot although he has not received any new endorsements. But he’s still showing up in Santa Clara in some good places. Oliverio reports that he attended the Old Quad Neighborhood Association meeting. That’s a smart move and a bold one. That’s the home turf of Santa Clara Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta. We talked to one person at the meeting who told us the group was impressed with Oliverio and has been disappointed in Caserta’s recent votes on development and the curfew. Will Oliverio be able to make inroads into what should be Caserta territory?
#2. Don Rocha, San Jose Councilman
He moves up a slot from the last ranking. Rocha tells us that he has the endorsement of Kevin De Leon, the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate. De Leon is also running for the United States Senate against incumbent Dianne Feinstein. He will be getting a lot of publicity in the next year. De Leon is also one of the three most powerful Democrats in Sacramento and can help Rocha with the Labor endorsement. Rocha had a slow fundraising start, but with De Leon’s fundraising connections, the campaign should be able to raise the maximum allowed under the voluntary fundraising cap ($250,000) by the end of December.
#3. Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District Board of Education Vice President
She did not have any new endorsements to report and didn’t make any significant Santa Clara appearances so we moved her down a slot. But Ellenberg is still a top tier candidate who should do well in June and has an excellent chance to make the runoff in November. She will be at the Mission City Community Fund dinner in November she informs us. That’s an excellent event to connect with the top Santa Clara community and political leaders.
#4. Jason Baker, former Campbell Mayor
He’ll be at the Mission City Community Fund dinner, too, he tells us. Baker has lots of solid roots in Santa Clara as he’s shared with us on this site so that should be a good event for him to reconnect with the community.
Baker picked up the endorsement of former Republican Assemblyman Jim Cunneen. Cunneen is featured as a major endorsement on Caserta’s website. But recently he’s endorsed Oliverio, Ellenberg and Baker, too. That’s four out of five candidates! (Maybe Rocha doesn’t have Cunneen’s cell phone number.)
In addition to Cunneen, Baker will need some more endorsements and some fundraising success to break into the top tier. The next 60 days will be important for him.
#5. Dominic Caserta, Santa Clara Vice Mayor
He’s still stuck in last and recently lost some more key endorsements. Santa Clara Councilwoman Debi Davis and former Santa Clara Mayor Gary Gillmor (father of Mayor Lisa Gillmor) have un-endorsed Caserta. Gary Gillmor is still well known and liked by many around town, so this a pretty big blow. With Davis pulling her endorsement, that makes three of Caserta’s colleagues rejecting him. Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe previously pulled their endorsements. Caserta has been losing endorsements for months. Community leaders say they’ve never seen anything like this before. This could be a problem for the accuracy of his brochures unless his campaign is stocking up on White Out.
Despite these serious setbacks, Caserta is continuing to campaign. He tells us that he’s been busy walking precincts and attending community events like the openings of Palo Alto Networks and the San Tomas Community Garden and Park.