By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara City Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe just announced she’s endorsing Susan Ellenberg for County Supervisor.
This is big plus for Ellenberg’s campaign in the Mission City. Watanabe is not just the Vice Mayor of the city, but she’s the unofficial Mayor of the Northside. She’s the first council person to represent North Santa Clara and is really popular in her area. She defended her seat in 2016 against multiple candidates. Watanabe had a 30 point margin over the second place finisher in a city wide race.
Here’s what Watanabe posted on Facebook yesterday:
Proud to endorse Susan Slater Ellenberg for County Board of Supervisors! Susan also received the DAWN endorsement on Sunday. Susan is well-spoken and confident. I appreciate the background and experience that Susan brings to the table and her understanding of what is important to residents of Santa Clara County. Go Susan!
This is a big blow to Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta who doesn’t have a united Mission City behind him. He once did. At the beginning of the campaign, Caserta actually had endorsements from all his colleagues.
Then one by one some good names dumped him. First, it was Mayor Lisa Gillmor who un-endorsed him by text. That wasn’t cool. But it still hurt the Caserta campaign big time because she’s the most popular elected official in the city.
It probably wasn’t smart for Caserta to antagonize Gillmor after she dropped him which he did at a lot of council meetings because the Mayor wasn’t shy about firing back. This Gillmor shot was devastating.
Caserta repeated his mistake by antagonizing Watanabe Tuesday night. He took a cheap shot at Watanabe and called her a “racist” for saying that the Super Bowl crowd was different than the crowd at the Mexico vs Iceland soccer match. (Note to Dominic: it was.) Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tino Silva came to Watanabe’s defense and spanked Caserta during public comments. You can see it on YouTube at the 1:45:30 mark.
Watanabe endorsed Ellenberg the next day.
Councilwomen Debi Davis and Teresa O’Neill also un-endorsed Caserta a few months ago. By press time, neither of them have announced endorsements of another supervisorial candidate. Neither has Gillmor. But could this be the beginning of a run of people who once endorsed Caserta and now think he has a “temperament problem” so they’re supporting other candidates?
Stay tuned to find out. Things are getting interesting in the District Four Supervisor’s race.
Editor’s Note: Caserta still has the endorsements of Council colleagues Patty Mahan and Pat Kolstad. He hasn’t insulted them yet.