Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Rosemary Kamei appears to be winning outright in the San Jose City Council District 1 race with 66% of the vote.
As of 8:05 p.m. on Tuesday, early election results show Kamei holding a sizable lead over two other candidates: Ramona Snyder, president of the San Jose Downtown Foundation board and paratransit operator Tim Gildersleeve. With 45% of ballots counted, Snyder trails by 24.8% and Gildersleeve is seeing 8.7% of the vote.
“I’m feeling excited,” Kamei told San José Spotlight. “We worked really, really hard and feeling very, very good.”
If Kamei maintains more than 50% of the vote, she will replace Vice Mayor Chappie Jones who terms out of the seat at the end of the year. The district is surrounded by Sunnyvale, Campbell, Saratoga and Cupertino—encompassing the Winchester neighborhoods and Santana Row to the north all the way down to the Westgate area.
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The election in District 1 is unique in that it could shift the power dynamic of the San Jose City Council. Jones, a former Apple executive, has aligned with the business faction often voting with Mayor Sam Liccardo. The mayor lost his narrow 6-5 majority when labor-friendly Councilmember David Cohen flipped the District 4 seat in 2020.
Kamei, 63, is endorsed by many labor-leaning and progressive candidates and organizations such as the South Bay Labor Council, Congressman Ro Khanna and state Asm. Evan Low. Though, she wouldn’t define herself that way – pointing to endorsements from the vice mayor and the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors that typically support more moderate candidates. Kamei has a long history in public service as well, serving on Morgan Hill’s Planning Commission and the Valley Water board of directors.
Synder, 52, on the other hand, is new to the political arena. She has not held public office but has sat on the D1 Leadership Group, D1 Decides Participatory Budgeting Committee and on the city’s arts committee. She is the more moderate, business-leaning Democrat with endorsements from Silicon Valley Biz PAC, former Councilmember Johnny Khamis and mayoral candidate and Councilmember Dev Davis.
Gildersleeve, 60, quietly joined the race and has not made the same campaign efforts as his competitors. He has unsuccessfully sought a number of local and state campaigns since 2014. He is a registered as No Party Preference and has not received any endorsements.
Kamei had raised $87,8000 as of June 3, while Snyder raised $40,500 during the same time period.
Contact Jana Kadah at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.
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