The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

November 2018 Election Results: Santa Clara Mayor, City Clerk, Council Members Decided

Thousands of Santa Clara voters cast their vote in the November 2018 elections.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 7, 100 percent of all the precincts are reporting and the City will welcome new leadership as well as welcome back some familiar faces.

Interestingly, more voters cast a vote for Measure M — the cannabis tax measure — than for the Citywide positions of Mayor and City Clerk.



Santa Clara Mayor

Lisa Gillmor was appointed to Mayor in 2016 after Mayor Jamie Matthews quit. This election, she has been battling for votes against millennial Anthony Becker.

Out of approximately 16,000 voters, about 12,000 of them chose Gillmor. She gets to keep her title as Mayor — however, she no longer has the modifier “appointed” attached to it.

Becker received a modest number of votes — over 4,000 voters betted on him.


Santa Clara City Clerk*

Robert O’Keefe won the favor of Santa Clarans with an even 3,700 votes. O’Keefe, a retired California Highway Patrol Lieutenant, had less than 400 votes more than Hosam Haggag. Almost 15,000 voters participated in voting for Clerk.

The City Clerk position was left vacant when Rod Diridon Jr. resigned in February this year. The position was then temporarily filled by Jennifer Yamaguma before she left for a communications job with the City of Milpitas. On Oct. 16, the Council voted unanimously to appoint Assistant City Manager Nadine Nader to City Clerk until O’Keefe is sworn in for his partial term.

The City Clerk’s duties were reduced by a City Council decision earlier this year. Most of the duties have been transferred to the assistant City Clerk, which is not an elected position but an appointed one.


Santa Clara City Council

This is the first year Santa Clarans have voted for Council Members by districts instead of seats due to a California Voting Rights Lawsuit decision earlier this year. However, the City is appealing the decision and also placed an advisory vote on the ballot regarding the districts called Measure N.

Voters in Districts 2 and 3 got to vote to fill two council seats. Council Member Dominic Caserta resigned earlier this year after a sexual misconduct scandal and Council Member Pat Kolstad’s term is ending but he is not putting up a fight for his seat. 

Voters in District 2 have decided on Santa Clara’s very first minority candidate Raj Chahal.

Chahal is an immigrant from Chandigarh/Panchkula, India.

He currently is a Planning Commissioner, small business owner, Vice President of the Santa Clara Sister Cities Association, and a Board Member of Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends. Additionally, he was a Scout Master and Founding Member for Boy Scouts of America Sikh Troop 600 and he co-founded a family charity called ShareCulture.

Out of over 2,500 District 2 voters, Chahal received about 1,300 votes, Nancy Biagini got a little over 1,000 votes, and Mario Bouza took home over 200 votes.

Voters in District 3 overwhelmingly picked Karen Hardy to represent them.

Hardy has taught mathematics and computer science at Santa Clara’s Wilcox High School since 2007. This year she was presented the PTSA Outstanding Teacher Award at Wilcox High School. Also, she is currently the Vice President of the Soroptimist club.

Out of over 2,500 District 3 voters, Hardy received over 1,800 votes, while her competitor Srinivasan Sambathkumar (Sam Kumar) received over 700 votes.


Santa Clara Unified School District School Board

For this election, Trustee Area 2 Board Members Jodi Muirhead’s and Noelani Pearl Hunt’s terms are ending as well as Andrew Ratterman of Trustee Area 3. Voters were able to choose two Area 2 candidates from the options of Muirhead, Vickie Fairchild, and Ashish Mangla.

Voters decided on both Muirhead (over 10,500 votes) and Fairchild (about 11,000 votes). Ratterman had no competition for his spot and was automatically welcomed back onto the School Board.

The Santa Clara Unified School District includes neighborhoods in the cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose and Cupertino.


Measure BB – Passed

The $720,000,000 bond for Santa Clara Unified School District passed with over 65 percent of the vote.


Measure M – Passed

Now that Marijuana is legal in California, Santa Clarans needed to decide if they want to tax the sale of it in the City. Santa Clara voters decided that they do want the tax. The Measure passed with over 75 percent of the vote. Over 17,000 voters cast a choice, more than the voters who picked a Mayor or City Clerk.

Measure M describes a tax on commercial cannabis up to 10 percent of gross receipts and up to $25 per square foot for cultivation. Measure M says it will generate over $2,000,000 annually.


Measure N – Passed

Measure N, an advisory vote regarding a charter amendment to vote for City Council using districts, also passed. Over 68 percent of the votes said ‘yes.’

Essentially, the City is asking the residents if they want to draft a charter change to elect City Council Members by-district or not. However, the districts are already here and were Superior Court directed earlier this year.


Measure W – Passed

The $698,000,000 bond for West Valley-Mission Community College District also passed with almost 59 percent of the voters in favor of it.


California Governor

Gavin Newsom is the new governor of California, Newsom beat John Cox for the job by almost 60,000 votes.

Jerry Brown, who currently holds the job, has been the Governor of California for many years.


California Lieutenant Governor

Eleni Kounalakis secured her spot as Lieutenant Governor of California. She received over 60 percent of the vote to beat out Ed Hernandez.

The current Lieutenant Governor is Newsom.


United States Senator for California

Dianne Feinstein gets to continue her work as Senator. She beat Kevin De Leon for the job with almost 60 percent of voters choosing her.


United States Representative District 17

Ro Khanna gets to keep his position as representative of California’s District 17. He got over 55,000 votes compared to Ron Cohen’s almost 21,000.

District 17 includes parts of Alameda County and Santa Clara County. It encompasses the cities of Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Milpitas and Newark as well as parts of Fremont and San Jose.


State Senator District 10

Bob Wieckowski also will keep his position as California State Senator. Exactly 71 percent of voters picked him (about 30,000 votes), while Victor San Vicente got 29 percent (about 12,500 votes).

District 10 includes parts of Alameda County and Santa Clara County. It encompasses many cities including all of Santa Clara and Milpitas, as well as part of San Jose.


Member of the State Assembly District 25

Kansen Chu does not have to turn his office over to his opposition, Bob Brunton. Chu received over 30,000 votes compared to Brunton’s almost 12,500.

District 25 includes parts of Alameda County and Santa Clara County. It includes all of Newark, Milpitas and Santa Clara as well as parts of Fremont and San Jose.


County Board of Supervisors District 4

After securing their spots in the June primary, Don Rocha and Susan Ellenberg went head to head at the polls.

Ellenberg landed the win with almost 60 percent of voters picking her (almost 31,500 votes). Her competitor Rocha received a hair more than 43 percent of the votes (over 23,500).

District 4 includes the cities of Santa Clara, Campbell, much of west San Jose, and the unincorporated Cambrian and Burbank districts. Current Supervisor Ken Yeager has termed out.


Santa Clara County Sheriff

Laurie Smith will continue her work as Sheriff after securing over 56 percent of the vote, effectively defeating John Hirokawa for her office.


View more results on the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voter’s website.


Update: The Registrar has updated the numbers for the School Board race. This article has been updated to reflect the new numbers. 

Correction: Raj Chahal is an immigrant from Chandigarh/Panchkula, India, not Delhi, India. Thank you to Chahal for pointing out the error and providing us with the correct information. The article has been updated.

  • *Update: An update on the City Clerk race can be found here.

  1. James Rowen 6 years ago

    Thanks for being the first to report the Election of Raj Chahal. Somewhere else, the white guy refuses to acknowledge the Election of a minority candidate. Well, when you are paid in Twinkies to ignore it, you just gobble the cakes and do so.

  2. Steve Chessin 6 years ago

    “100 percent of all the precincts are reporting” doesn’t mean 100% of the votes have been counted, and in close races it is premature to declare victors until that happens. As of 11/11/2018 4:43:32 PM PST, with 70.00% of the votes counted, the Registrar of Voter’s website is reporting that Hosam Haggag is leading with 5,467 votes (24.68%) to Robert O’Keefe’s 5,293 votes (23.89%). With the vote so close, we won’t know for sure who the winner is until the other 30% of the votes get counted.

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