Two Democratic institutions in Santa Clara County are taking last-minute punches at a contender in the San Jose mayor’s race. Both groups are zeroing in on support he’s received from a conservative organization and questioning his stance on abortion.
The Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee recently adopted a resolution calling on San Jose mayoral candidate and Councilmember Matt Mahan to renounce an endorsement he received from the Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women—an organization that has hosted speakers who expressed support for political violence and spread misinformation about COVID-19 treatments, according to the chair of the county’s democratic party.
The South Bay Labor Council—which along with the county Democratic Party is backing Supervisor Cindy Chavez for San Jose mayor—echoed these concerns and accused Mahan of not answering questions about his stance on abortion.
“I don’t think accepting support from a pro-Trump, anti-trans, pro-gun, anti-choice organization is aligned with the values of San Jose voters,” South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Jean Cohen told San José Spotlight.
Speakers at Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women events have called for the execution of billionaire philanthropist George Soros and former Vice President Mike Pence. They have also urged people to not take the COVID-19 vaccine and expressed anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.
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Mahan told San José Spotlight there is no factual basis for the South Bay Labor Council’s abortion claim.
“I am pro-choice and support taxpayer funded abortion, and I’ve never said anything to the contrary,” Mahan said.
Mahan said he was asked at a recent forum about using San Jose taxpayer dollars to fund abortion for out-of-state residents. County supervisors recently approved $3 million in additional funds for Planned Parenthood services following news that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn abortion rights.
At the event, he said the city doesn’t run or fund hospitals and clinics and would not be in a position to make that decision. Mahan said he supports access to critical health care for all who need it regardless of ability to pay.
“Frankly, this is how insiders win. They drop last-minute, dark money hit pieces to confuse and distract the electorate from their failures on the issues that matter locally, like crime, homelessness and affordable housing,” Mahan said.
Mahan said he is not actively rejecting the endorsement from the Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women.
“I am not going to spend my time going around the county telling various political clubs to take me off of their ballot guide (recommendations),” Mahan said. “That’s not a great way to run a campaign and none of the other candidates do that.”
The association praised Mahan on its website for his criticism of the county for spending $76 million in COVID-19 federal relief dollars on bonuses for government workers, and for promising to reduce homelessness and deal with crime. The association also voiced support for San Jose Councilmember and mayoral candidate Dev Davis, but doesn’t believe she can win, according to its endorsement page for Mahan.
Mahan noted the association has endorsed moderate Democratic candidates in the past, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Sam Liccardo and District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
At least one of those candidates is uncomfortable with their endorsement from the association, according to Santa Clara County Democratic Party Chair Bill James. He told San José Spotlight Rosen was “horrified” after the party notified him about the endorsement.
“He made clear he never spoke to them and didn’t want their endorsement,” James said. “That’s the response I would expect from a Democratic officeholder.”
Rosen, who is running for reelection, said in a statement he never sought the endorsement of the association and its members did not reach out to him to fill out a questionnaire.
“I am sure if they had they would have not endorsed my candidacy as I am 100% pro-LGBTQ+ rights and 100% pro-choice,” Rosen said, adding he received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood. “Any suggestion otherwise by (the association) or any other group or candidate is simply disinformation, which any interested parties should summarily ignore.”
James said he couldn’t think of a recent time the county Democratic Party has asked a candidate to reject an endorsement.
Contact Eli Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org or @EliWolfe4 on Twitter.
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