SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Fundraising and campaigning in the race to replace San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed kicked off with a crowded field of candidates, mostly city council members who support the termed-out mayor’s pension reform policies.
The city’s police and firefighter unions have been very critical of efforts to require greater employee contributions on pensions, initiatives that Councilman Pete Constant said have been very popular with voters.
“Every measure that we’ve taken to the voters that I’ve been involved with that have involved significant reforms have been received by the voters with 65 percent to 70 percent of the vote,” he said.
Constant and the other candidates loyal to Reed may have trouble differentiating themselves enough to win a clear majority and an outright victory in June.
“It seems to me this is a time when we need independent, innovative leadership more than ever,” said Sam Liccardo. Like Constant and Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez, Liccardo will be termed off the council next year. All three are making their first runs for the mayor’s office.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese is the only candidate not currently on the council. As a councilman, Cortese served as vice mayor before term limits and a failed mayoral run built in part around criticizing Reed led him to the District 3 supervisor seat.
The current vice-mayor, Madison Nguyen, has highlighted her relationship with Mayor Reed as a selling point in her candidacy.
“Working side by side with Mayor Reed in the last three years has really helped me to learn a lot from a citywide perspective,” she said.
Only two of the council members running, Rose Herrera and Pierluigi Oliverio, are not facing term limits. Half of the city council seats are in play for the June election.
If one of the candidates does not win a majority in the spring, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a run off in November.
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