Santa Clara Political Races to Watch in 2018

By Robert Haugh

In 2018, Santa Clarans will have a lot to say about the future of our city at the ballot box. Here are the major elections coming up:

Santa Clara Mayor’s Race

Mayor Lisa Gillmor was appointed almost two years ago when former Mayor Jamie Matthews mysteriously stepped down after the 2016 Super Bowl. She will be up for re-election in November. All the political experts think she’s a slam-dunk winner. We’ve been told about some polling over the last two years has her numbers sky high. We believe it. She’s stood up to the 49ers and the city of San Jose — and won every battle. Santa Clarans love someone who stands up for the Mission City — and wins. We haven’t heard names of any credible challengers.

Santa Clara City Council Seats #2 and #5

Councilman Pat Kolstad won’t be running for Seat #2. He’s already moved out of town.

Former Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta is running for County Supervisor. In June, if Caserta fails to make the runoff by finishing in the top two, he can run for his re-election for his current seat: #5. Most people think he won’t make the run-off and will have to settle for a re-election bid. But if Caserta shows poorly in Santa Clara because of his association with developers and the 49ers, he could be vulnerable to a challenge. Some names we’re hearing that may run: Tino Silva, Raj Chahal, Mohammad Nadeem, Harbir Bhatia and Suds Jain.

Santa Clara Charter Election

This will be on the June ballot. Voters will decide if they want to divide the city into two districts with three council members representing each district. The mayor will still be elected city wide. This was done to respond to a lawsuit by San Francisco attorney Robert Rubin who thinks that carving the Mission City into six districts will help elect Asian candidates, even though Santa Clara doesn’t have racially segregated neighborhoods like other cities.

Santa Clara Unified School District Bond Measure

SCUSD is talking about trying to raise $875 million through a parcel tax in 2018. It’ll be the third bond measure in the last eight years for the district. The district has raised over $815 million since 2004. And they want to more than double that this year.

Possible Swim Center Measure

We’re hearing that the council will decide soon if they will put a tax measure on the ballot for a new International Swim Center. This will be interesting and may impact SCUSD’s bond measure.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Race, District Four

This race has received a lot of attention from us. That’s because there are five credible candidates and one of them is really entertaining. But the reality is that whoever is elected Supervisor won’t have a major impact on most Santa Clarans. County government is responsible for Valley Medical Center, jails and social welfare programs. Those are all important, but they’re not used by most residents.

No Santa Clara candidate has ever won this seat when it was open, and no political experts expect that to change this year. San Jose represents almost 60 percent of the district. So, look for a San Jose candidate to emerge victorious. Right now, we say it’s a horse race between San Jose Unified School District President Susan Ellenberg, Former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio and San Jose Councilman Don Rocha.

Editor’s Note: Rod Diridon, Sr. was a County Supervisor who lived in Santa Clara. But he was first elected to the board when he was Mayor of Saratoga in 1974.




  1. It’s unfortunate the Council didn’t split the election process Measure into 3 pieces: 1.) Eliminate “by-seat”, 2.) Divide City into 2 Council districts, 3.) implement ranked/single transferable voting.
    None are incompatible with the other, but some folks will be For one aspect and Against the other. At Council meeting, which of course is a limited sample, there were a number of supporters for ranked voting, but nobody big on 2 districts, except perhaps Councilmeber O’Neill. That could mean the voters might have to swallow an attribute they don’t like in order to get the one they do. This puts more negative weight on the combined Measure (the one proposed).
    Also, as CA Doyle said, 2 districts will not dissuade the Rubin lawsuit, which wants 6. Not that the lawsuit should be driver, but a ranked choice election could be passed and not subject to the risk involved in a lawsuit. By City combining the two pieces it potentially puts both in play in that suit, if the Measure were to be tossed as an entirety.

  2. Wow, I am surprised that it didn’t even cross my mind that Dominic would write his own rebuttals to this blog. But I bet you are right. His precinct walkers came to my house. When I told them that I could never vote for Dominic, because of his treatment of residents (lectures to us like we are his students) I could see them shrinking. They must have heard this before……and I think that they were his students. Extra credit for walking his precinct?????

    • You mean like the time he gave his students extra credit for stealing opponent yard signs back when he was running for City Council? Not surprised.

  3. I think there should be a fair overview of all the candidates. if there is not a fair overview, then this is not fair journalism. Robert you can’t put your biases on paper when it comes to journalism. otherwise your not a journalist.

  4. Robert report the FACTS writes, You would report these endorsements if it were Suan, Don, Jason and Pieri but you won’t because it is Dominic, and you would if O’Neill, Davis, Gillmor, and Watnabe were running for Supervisor from Santa Clara, but you won’t because it is Dominic.

    You are right. Robert probably would report those endorsements because those folks are liked. Just sayin.

  5. I would have to agree strongly. Caserta is entertaining in a court jester sort of way. His comments on this site are both ludicrous and hilarious. We will miss him when he loses.

    Wonder if he realizes that he lost the race when he took 49er money and voted to get rid of the curfew.

  6. Although it’s true what you write that it’s likely a San Jose candidate wins the supervisor’s race, you should not discount too quickly a quality candidate from a smaller city. Here’s also a likely scenario. The three candidates from San Jose divide the vote and they all end up with about 20 percent. Then, there’s an opening for a good candidate from another city to slide ahead of all of them with 21-25 percent. Yes, it is indeed possible.

    That candidate would be Jason Baker. He’s the former mayor of Campbell and has the respect of lots of people in local cities. Of the non-San Jose candidates, he’s the smartest and most emotionally stable and most respected.

    • “Of the non-San Jose candidates, he’s the smartest and most emotionally stable and most respected.” Can’t help but laugh since the only other non-San Jose candidate is Dominic. Which, quite honestly, your comment is spot on! (although that’s not a very high bar to achieve)

  7. Thanks for the heads up on what’s coming. I will be looking for candidates that aren’t front men or women for the 49ers. That includes those running for Supervisor. Please let us know when the team rears its ugly head.

  8. Robert, there you go again stating your opinion and disguising it as fact. Why do you never cite a name when you say “most insiders” or “most political insiders” say Caserta won’t make the runoff..

    Here are the FACTS: Dominic is winning in EVERY objective benchmark in a successful campaign:

    1) Has the most endorsements, why have you NOT reported that he in the past week alone received the sole endorsement of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC (a business group) and the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers (a labor organization), NOT Ellenberg, Rocha, or Oliverio.

    You would report these endorsements if it were Suan, Don, Jason and Pieri but you won’t because it is Dominic, and you would if O’Neill, Davis, Gillmor, and Watnabe were running for Supervisor from Santa Clara, but you won’t because it is Dominic.

    2) Dominic has raised more money THAN any of his opponents, in fact the MOST EVER in a county race at this time. Yes, a candidate from Santa Clara, not San Jose, has done that. You would rave about that again if it were anyone but Dominic.

    3) Dominic and his volunteers has the best grassroots campaign: Walking EVERY precinct, having over 20 coffee chats held in support of his efforts. Why don’t you report these FACTS?

    These are ALL wins by the Caserta campaign, be a JOURNALIST: Robert and quote people and their names, you won’t!

    Stop cherrypicking and claiming that you are reporting truth, Caserta is doing extremely well, a consensus candidate that will make the runoff.

    And, I was at the deabte Monday night, why don’t you quote actual people and their opinions on the debate, Caserta was EXCELLENT and clearly did well.

    Santa Clara finally has a credible candidiate, report the facts, Robert.

    Dominic is WINNING, see if this gets through your moderation you FRAUD!

    • Hey Dominic, are you the only one who doesn’t realize that EVERYONE else on this site realizes that your posts are OBVIOUSLY written by you? Why do you keep referring to yourself in the 3rd person?

    • The 3rd person posts are crazy. Not just a couple comments but almost a year of alias 3rd person comments. He has to realize what a joke he is.!!😂😂😂

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