Minh Duong - Can he stand up to Labor Unions and Madison Nguyen?
It is a known fact that San Jose local politics is controlled by the powerful labor unions - in particular, the South Bay Labor Council. With their established machinery and money, they can raise a lot ot money at will and wield tremendous political power. In the last local election, the 2009 Recall of Madison Nguyen, Labor Unions helped Nguyen raised over $400,000 with most of the money coming from outside of San Jose to defeat the recall effort. Now with the city facing another budget deficit of over $100 million (With the majority of the funding going to support an unsustainable rich benefits and pension funds that are overly endowed to city union workers at the expense of the taxpayers), Labor Unions have a keen interest to keep its influence more than ever to prepare for a budget cut fight.
Minh Duong, an eloquent fiscal conservative, pro-business Republican, is running against Madison Nguyen for the council seat in District 7. He is considered as an underdog by the conventional wisdom. Nguyen expects herself to be able to win the election outright in the primary. After all, Nguyen not only has the support of Labor Unions but also labor-friendly councilmembers like Sam Liccardo, Nora Campos, Rose Herrera, Judy Chirco, etc.... She also has the support of the Democratic Party and even the Republican Pete Constant.
With the Vietnamese-American voting base splitting between him and another Vietnamese-American candidate - Patrick Phu Le, Minh Duong's best chance is coming in second if he can mobilized his Republican base as well as the the majority of the Vietnamese-American voters.
It has been a very quiet campaign with Madison Nguyen leading the money game with over $65,000 raised. Patrick Phu Le has raised about $45,000 (of which $20,000 is his own money) while Minh Duong has over $25,000 (of which $10,000 is loan to himself).
Minh Duong, despite his clear practical vision as a businessman and the ability to carry a fresh to-the-point message that can instill new ideas in order to bring changes, he still fights a tough uphill battle against a powerful and tricky politician in Madison Nguyen. She can invoke retribution against those who cross her yet can manipulate people's emotion with her "I am a powerless and humble minority woman who are being unjustly criticized".
At the end of the day, this race and other city-wide races will be decided by the voters asking the questions:" Do I want to keep the status quo of the political establishment and the political leaders that continue to control the city with the same policies and agenda? Especially in a time where the city continously provides less services while could not stop enriche itself with unrealistic and unreasonable benefits at the taxpayer's expense"
Knowing the vunerability of San Jose voters at the skillful manipulation of messages by powerful political consultants like Vic Aljouny and tricky politicians like Madison Nguyen, the answer is most likely yes - another big election win for Labor Unions in the primary.