Labor Wins Big in Local General Elections

Bucking the national trend local Labor-backed candidates and measures did extraordinarily well in Tuesday’s election.  Here’s a recap:

In what was one of the most contested and expensive races in San Jose, Ash Kalra won his bid for Assembly District 27, surpassing his opponent Madison Nguyen by nearly 5,000 votes and counting.  Charter schools, a primary funder of Nguyen’s, and other outside interest groups spent $5 million against Kalra. Despite all the money spent attacking him, Kalra, who has an impeccable record of fighting for working people, pulled off one of the largest political come-from-behind victories in South Bay history.

In the San Jose City Council races, the Labor-endorsed candidates are winning every race but one.  Sergio Jimenez claimed victory over Chamber-endorsed Steve Brown for Council District 2, with a nine percentage point lead.  Jimenez will replace Assembly Member- elect Ash Kalra.

Labor-backed Sylvia Arenas is up 56 votes, and her lead over Chamber-backed Jimmy Nguyen increases with each batch of votes counted.  While Council District 8 hasn’t been decided yet, the trend favors an Arenas victory.

The South Bay Labor Council also got a clean sweep with its local measures.  Voters passed all five measures back heavily by Labor:

  • Measure A, the $950 million affordable housing bond, received more than the two-thirds majority needed;
  • Measure B, the sales tax that will raise $6 billion for transportation also surpassed the two-thirds threshold;
  • Measure E, the Opportunity to Work Initiative, received more than 63 percent of the vote despite opposition from Mayor Sam Liccardo and an active, dishonest campaign by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce;
  • Measure F, which will begin to redress San Jose’s pension reform fiasco and the subsequent exodus of police officers caused by former Mayor Chuck Reed, was strongly backed by voters; and
  • Measure G, the modernization of the business tax received more than 65 percent of the vote.

As was the case in the primary election, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce had another dismal election cycle. They endorsed Madison Nguyen who, as a City Council Member, voted to decimate the police force, giving way to a tremendous spike in crime and Steve Brown, a homophobe with a record of cheating his employees out of pay.

The Chamber also kept true to its primary election MO: to run openly misleading and deceitful campaigns. In the process they personally attacked every Labor-backed candidate running for City Council.  Fortunately, the Chamber could not pull the wool over the eyes of San Jose voters.  The Chamber’s scorched earth tactics may come back to haunt them.

Other Labor-backed candidates and incumbents who won are:

Senator- elect Kamala Harris

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

Congressman Jimmy Panetta

State Senator Jerry Hill

State Senator Jim Beall

State Senator Bill Monning

Assembly Member- elect Marc Berman

Assembly Member Kansen Chu

Assembly Member Evan Low

Assembly Member Mark Stone

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