County Supervisor Rankings: No Major Changes with Almost 100 Days Until June Primary

By Robert Haugh

There are now 111 days, until primary election day for County Supervisor, District 4. We’ve seen the pace of activity pick up.

All candidates appeared the Santa Clara County Democratic Club’s forum on January 16, 2018.

It looks like all of them will be at an environmental forum on February 26 at Santa Clara University.

There have been recent local reports in the Mercury News and Metro about the candidates’ fundraising numbers. Our loyal readers know from our reports and rankings that fundraising should be a non-issue since four candidates have raised the $250,000 limit already.

We know that the quality of the campaign teams will play some role in the the outcome. So we asked the candidates to give us some information about their consultants as we update the rankings.

#1.  Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District Board of Education President

Ellenberg hangs onto the top ranking. She picked up the endorsement of California State Controller Betty Yee. Her campaign team includes: Jill NelsonGolub of Whitehurst & Mosher (general consultant), Angelica Ramos-Allen (campaign manager), and Ruth Ferguson (volunteer coordinator).  According to our sources, they all have solid reputations.

#2. Pierluigi Oliverio, former San Jose Councilman

Oliverio holds onto the second slot, despite the fact that the Santa Clara CountyGovernment Attorneys’ Association PAC attacked him with an online video about a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee. The suit against him was eventually dropped.

It looks like Oliverio will appeal to more conservative and moderate voters, especially with labor unions attacking him. That’s a good base to get into the runoff. Oliverio is a Democrat but hired a Republican consultant Vic Ajlouny of Eagle Communications. Ajlouny was Chuck Reed’s consultant in his upset victory for San Jose mayor in 2006.

#3. Don Rocha, San Jose Councilman

Rocha would have moved up into the top two if he received the sole endorsement of the South Bay Labor Council. But he’ll have to share it with Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta.

Rocha has hired Natalie Leblanc of Pivot who has a good reputation and won recent races in Santa Clara County. Rocha has picked up endorsements from former San Jose Vice Mayor Judy Chirco and Santa Clara County Board of Education Member Anna Song.

Rocha also tells us: “I have the most cash on hand as of January 1, 2018 … $247K.”

#4. Dominic Caserta, Santa Clara Councilman

Caserta is sharing the labor endorsement with Rocha. But he got the sole endorsement of the Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC, including two of its members: former Santa Clara councilmembers Dave DeLozier and Dave Tobkin. Caserta also got an interesting endorsement from Michele Dauber, the Chair of the Recall Judge Persky campaign.

This has been a good 2018 start for Caserta. But he does appear to be a little too pessimistic. “I look forward to you spinning this is bad news for my campaign,” Caserta/Eeyore wrote to us.


Caserta didn’t report who his consultants were. But we’ve done our homework and have already reported that Laura Teutschel is handling his campaign and there’s evidence that the controversial Ed McGovern and more controversial Jay Reed have left to handle an independent expenditure funded by 49er money which is likely to backfire.

Given all of his stumbles and public questions about his temperament, we don’t think Caserta should move up the rankings this month.

#5. Jason Baker, former Campbell Mayor

Baker is the only candidate not to have raised the max, but is close to a respectable $100,000. Baker hired Rally CommunicationsDerek Jansen and Leo Wallach.

Baker is still a candidate to watch because of his connections to Santa Clara. If he’s not a dark horse, he may be a spoiler, at least in the Mission City.

He’ll need some major endorsements to break through and get into the runoff.  “I still have most of the Mayors in the County endorsing- 10 in all,” Baker tells us.


Editor’s Note: We added Jason Baker’s campaign consultants.


  1. It is a cliche, though an appropriate one, that he who lives in a glass house should not throw stones. I am reminded of this as I watch the video of Oliverio and think of another candidate.

    The not-so-merry band of thieves and liars that comprise the Caserta campaign need to beware the ides of March. Their modus operandi may be exposed then. If not then, perhaps after the primary. We shall see.

  2. Would have to agree. Rocha’s problem is he doesn’t work very hard. Caserta seems a tad bit immature. Labor probably made a mistake and should have just picked one candidate. They’ll be sorry if neither one of them makes to runoff.

  3. Your rankings are pretty good. But there’s a lot of time and the campaigns are getting more active. Here’s the consensus for the politically smart people at 70 West:

    Best candidate: Ellenberg
    Worst candidate: Caserta

    Best consultant: Le Blanc
    Worst consultant: Ajlouny

    Best website: Ellenberg
    Worst website: Oliverio

  4. Thanks for keeping us updated on the Santa Clara appearances. It’s good to see the candidates in person even though your columns are informative and entertaining, too.

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