Santa Clara Election Winners and Losers

By Robert Haugh

Big Winner – Lisa Gillmor

Gillmor was re-elected as Mayor. Her campaign raised and spent less than $25,000. The 49ers independent expenditure campaign spent at least $2.5 million. Wow.

After you add up the independent expenditures, Gillmor’s side was outspent 8-1 and still won. And that total doesn’t include the money spent against her by a group called Santa Clara Now that 49ers CEO Jed York created earlier this year.

Big Losers (Tie) – Anthony Becker, Jed York and Rahul Chandhok

Becker had more money behind him than any candidate in Santa Clara history – and lost. During the campaign, Becker was exposed for being a hothead and being bad with money. That’s going to hurt him in the future. One other “minor” thing – the Grand Jury report says he’s sold out Santa Clara and may have broken laws.

York spent a lot of money and lost. And York lost ugly. The 49ers’ political tactics have been negative for years. This year they got the light turned on them by the Civil Grand Jury, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a prominent ethicist. York and company hurt their reputations in Santa Clara, in the Bay Area, and nationally.

Chandhok is York’s political point person and henchman. He’s been a negative force for years. But he may have gone too far this year with his personal attacks on the Grand Jury and attempts at grand juror intimidation

Other Winners (Mixed Results) – Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Santa Clara Police Officers Association, Santa Clara Firefighters, and The Related Companies

Chahal and Hardy won but they needed almost $1 million each from the 49ers. And they were named in the Grand Jury report for selling out the Mission City. They also have at least one pending investigation against them for taking free passes from the 49ers. 

The public safety unions endorsed and spent money to re-elect Gillmor, a big win. But they lost in the Council races. They’re still considered the best political endorsements in the City.

Stephen Ross owns The Related Companies and the Miami Dolphins. Related spent $250,000 on positive ads for Gillmor. But York decided to attack Ross’ personal contributions to Donald Trump with negative campaign ads. York attacking another NFL team owner made national sports news and not in a good way. The seating chart at the next NFL meeting should be interesting.

Other Losers (Mixed Results) – Larry McColloch, Christian Pellecchia

The two first-time candidates lost big, but were outspent big. But they both proved to be solid candidates and got some name ID if they want to run again – or if there’s a recall. Stay tuned.


  1. Whose district does BA live in? Have you looked at election updates, BA? Larry won residents over in at least one precinct. Good on ya’, Larry!

    BA you espouse to be so smart but you really are coming across as full of condescending blabber. I think your real name is Kevin Park.


    I had you pegged for better.

    • Jimmy.Durante, the Great Rupert is alive??

      Buchser, Becker people are using your name on other blogs.

    • Peter,

      Good for Larry for winning a precinct. And good for him for running in the first place. Sorry to have disappointed you. I call it how I see it and try to not let the politics skew my judgment.

      I do not understand how you could imagine that I am Kevin Park.

      Mrs K,

      Where have you been seeing people use my alias? I comment in other places with this alias.

  2. Robert,

    In the first section you should not make it seem as if Gillmor versus Becker was $25,000 versus $2,500,000. You mention what Related spent later but that should be in this section. As well as what the SCPOA and other groups spent for Gillmor. While at some point I saw a number for SCPOA spending under $15,000 I also at some point saw total special interest spending for Gillmor as being around $300,000.

    $300,000 is not $2,500,000 but it is also not $25,000.

    A point that a lot of people do not consider is that the Forty Niner spending for Chahal and Hardy doubled as spending for Becker because so much of it was focused on negative attacks against Gillmor and then tying Pellecchia and McColloch to Gillmor.

    And I disagree that Pellecchia and McColloch were good candidates. McColloch was massively underprepared to run for a public office even that of a city council seat. And Pellecchia did nothing to establish that he would be an improvement over Hardy. He did not even make a case for being more critical about the Forty Niners than Hardy. Every time he mentioned the Forty Niners he stated that he wanted a good relationship and for everyone to make as much money as possible. There is nothing wrong with that of course but it did not inspire any confidence that he would hold the Forty Niners strictly accountable.

    Meanwhile Hardy has been around in community roles for years and has a track record of opposing Measure J. Chahal has been around the community for many years. Both of them clearly are experts on Santa Clara issues. I do not like how they have voted with others on stadium issues but both deserve their just due.

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