By Robert Haugh
On election night, we knew Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Karen Hardy would win in landslides. Other candidate races were too close to call. But now the picture is clearer.
In a what may be a big come-from-behind victory, Hosam Haggag has moved into first place for City Clerk. On election night, Bob O’Keefe had a 25-22 percent lead over Haggag. Now, Haggag leads 25-24 percent.
As of Monday night, Haggag had 5,773 votes. O’Keefe had 5,520. There were a total of six candidates in the race. They’ve received a combined 23,205 votes so far.
The County Registrar’s website estimates that 80 percent of the vote has been counted. So it’s still not over. The fat lady has not begun singing. But if the trend continues, Haggag could increase his current 253 vote lead. He would be the first Muslim-American to be elected in Santa Clara.
Raj Chahal won the District 2 Council seat. Chahal got 53 percent of the vote. His total Monday night was 2,164 votes. Chahal will be the first Asian-American elected to the City Council.
Only three candidates ran in District 2. As of Monday, Nancy Biagini received 1,522 votes for 37 percent and Mario Bouza received 394 votes for 10 percent.
The reason Chahal’s vote total pales in comparison to Haggag and O’Keefe is because of a court-ordered district election. Judge Thomas Kuhnle ruled earlier this year that there’s racially polarized voting in Santa Clara and he created districts to help minority candidates. So Chahal ran in one of six newly created council districts. They have a small number of voters.
But if Haggag holds on for a victory in the Clerk’s race, it shows that Kuhnle was wrong about racially polarized voting in Santa Clara. A “minority” candidate can win a citywide election in the Mission City without the help of districts.
It looks like Chahal will be elected with the lowest number of votes in history for a Santa Clara City Council candidate. Hardy won the only other district election on the ballot this year — for District 3. Hardy won in a landslide and has 3,058 votes as of Monday.
Keep reading this site for updates on the City Clerk’s race.