By Robert Haugh
In less than three weeks, absentee ballots will arrive for the June primary. Here are some keys endorsements made in the last month in the form of a quiz. Read the rankings for the answers.
Who received the endorsement of incumbent Supervisor Ken Yeager?
- No one.
- Susan Ellenberg and Don Rocha (dual)
- Jason Baker and Dominic Caserta (dual)
- Pierluigi Oliverio and Pat Kolstad (dual)
- Jamie Matthews and Julio Fuentes (dual)
Who received the endorsement of former County Supervisor Rod Diridon, Sr. — the only Santa Claran to serve on the Board?
- Rod Diridon, Jr.
Who received the endorsement of the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO) — formerly known as San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
- ⚤ — formerly known as the singer Prince
#1. Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District Board of Education President
Ellenberg stays on top of the rankings because she and Rocha picked up a dual endorsement from Yeager.
She also picked up the endorsement of Santa Clara vice mayor Kathy Watanabe and Diridon, Sr. That will help her a lot in the Mission City.
Ellenberg has the most quality endorsements in the race. She has done a particularly good job lining up past and present female elected officials.
She’s also been active in Santa Clara. We hear she was impressive in her visit to the Reclaiming Our Downtown group.
#2. Pierluigi Oliverio, former San Jose Councilman
Oliverio garnered one major endorsement recently from the SVO. With this endorsement and a possible independent expenditure, Oliverio has carved out the fiscal conservative vote for himself. That should get him into the runoff. Even though he’s a Democrat, he’s not really competing for local club endorsements.
Oliverio is making a good impression on Santa Clarans at the events he’s attending like the Old Quad residents meeting, Vanguard’s annual brunch and the farmers market.
#3. Don Rocha, San Jose Councilman
Rocha got half of Yeager’s endorsement. He also got half of Labor’s endorsement (with Caserta) earlier this year. If Rocha, doesn’t make the run-off, we may look back and say this is the reason why. Two potentially strong endorsements didn’t fully back him and his campaign alone wasn’t enough.
But as of today, Rocha is in a solid position. He’s kept his spending to a minimum and it looks like he has the most cash on hand going into the final stretch. He’s a strong third in the rankings and could make the runoff. But we’d like to see more of him in Santa Clara where he hasn’t made much of an impression so far and the city is up for grabs.
#4. Dominic Caserta, Santa Clara Councilman
Caserta got the sole endorsement of the Santa Clara Democratic Club recently which was expected since that’s a group he started. The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers have made an independent expenditure on his behalf by buying ads in the Santa Clara Weekly and on the Mercury News website.
But we can’t see Caserta finishing in the top three because he’s done so poorly in his hometown. Because of his temperament, Caserta has antagonized and lost the majority of his council colleagues during the course of the campaign. Watanabe and Diridon, Sr.’s endorsements of Ellenberg drives home that point. Two rival campaigns tell us that they expect Caserta to be under 20 percent in Santa Clara. Wow. That would be weak.
#5. Jason Baker, former Campbell Mayor
Baker did pick up two good Mission City endorsements recently from former Mayor Judy Nadler and Councilmember Teresa O’Neill. He could do well in Santa Clara because he has some real family roots here.
But Baker’s base (Campbell) is in the smallest city in the district. We thought he would pick up some big name endorsements in San Jose and help him be competitive for the runoff. But that hasn’t happened yet.