Thursday, May 31, 2018

San Jose D7 City Council Race

Here we go again, another hotly contested race pitting 4 Vietnamese-Americans against each others and 3 other candidates ( 2 Hispanic and 1 White candidates)

Current Councilmember Tam Nguyen is having a time of his life in fending off three Vietnamese-American challengers for that crucial Vietnamese voting bloc that makes up about 33% of the overall  registration. 

He is being accused of being a communist sympathizer, unethical lawyer and now false campaign advertising.  The Vietnamese-American community is divided and without a united voting bloc, CM Tam Nguyen has no hope of winning the race outright in the primary.

So what is the conventional wisdom now that we are 5 days away?

CM Tam Nguyen so far has raised the most money.   Here is the breakdown of the top three money raised (not including the money that candidates loan to themselves) -  Tam Nguyen (~$91,000),  Maya Esparza (~$78,000) and Van Le (~$48,000). 

CM Tam Nguyen also has a very dedicated group of 20 volunteers who have been walking the precinct for him since the beginning  of the year.   And he has a strong name recognition in D7. 

Despite his shortcomings, he is actually well liked for his humility and easy going personality. 

His opponents are strong and will split the votes within the Vietnamese-American community.  Van Le has her supporters and she has shown in 2014, she can attract votes.   However, this is her 5th try; will the voters just feel tire of her and her many failed attempts?

Chris Le admitted that he is spoiler.  He did not even bother to raise money or precinct walking.  Thomas Duong is new kid on the bloc with no records of community activism or participation.   Despite such inexperience and lack of record, the Mercury News and SVO (the other name for Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce) are endorsing him just to further splinter the Vietnamese-American voting bloc. 

Maya Esparza is being pushed to run by  South Bay Labor Council.  Does she really want to give up a cushy union job that she cannot be fired from and that pays more than $150,000 a year?  Not really.

Labor is doing all the walking, mailing and fund raising.  They just want to get back at CM Tam Nguyen for not voting for low income housing and other Labor's related agendas.

With such a low turnout expected (with less than 1/3 of the registered voters will cast their ballots), CM Tam Nguyen and Maya Esparza will likely be the top two candidates to go on to the general election.  However,  the wild card factor has always been, will the Hispanic voters go to vote?  If not, we might have two Vietnamese-American candidates in the general election.

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