A special election took place in Santa Clara County last week and something unusual happened—it went smoothly. The Registrar of Voters generally takes up residence in the woodshed during and after elections, but it appears no complaints have been filed over the handling of ballots for Berryessa’s seat on the San Jose City Council. If anything, it appears voters may have made the mistakes. This isn’t a shot at Tim Orozco’s first-place finish, or Manh Nguyen’s 13-vote edging of Lan Diep to secure second place and a spot in the June 23 runoff. Diep tells Fly that 168 voters marked their ballots for a write-in candidate, but just 26 of those people actually wrote in a name. He says he instructed his supporters to mark the last spot on the ballot, which he thought would be his name—not the blank for a write-in. Those people intended to vote for him, Diep suspects, but they didn’t follow through. There’s no way to prove that, of course, so the race moves on. Diep technically has until the end of this week to call for a recount, but he tells Fly he’s more likely to go on a long road trip and clear his head. Meanwhile, Nguyen—whose camp said it would have filed a complaint against the city clerk for ballot mishandling, had he finished in third—has wasted little time trying to recruit voters who supported Diep, as well as proponents of the other five vanquished candidates in the primary. It’s not a given he’ll be able to count on the support of all of District 4’s Vietnamese voters, who have a reputation for voting along ethnic lines. But this week Nguyen received a boost by securing endorsements from San Jose’s current and former mayors, Sam Liccardo and Chuck Reed, and counterparts in Milpitas and Campbell, Jose Esteves and Jeffrey Cristina, respectively. Orozco joked to Fly that his opponent now has the support from "all of the Republicans." He added that he thinks Liccardo is a Democrat, but he wants to control the city "with no hindrance or obstacle in the way, and apparently thinks he can use Manh Nguyen to do that." Nguyen’s camp sent out a release Wednesday morning saying it discourages outside committees from spending money for the runoff, or going negative, which is a limp request unlikely to be heeded. The balance of power on the council is at stake, and neither labor—which is supporting Orozco—nor Liccardo and the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce are likely to let the chips fall without a fight.
Published by The Fly
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