The polling results looked grim as Mayor Chuck Reed stood with District 4 City Council candidate Tam Truong on Tuesday night. As the two men spoke, awaiting the last returns, a group of the latter’s family and friends milled about a north San Jose business park office eating food and laughing as a projector slideshow of the District 4 candidate beamed against a wall.
In the end, though, the San Jose police detective fell short of his goal of pushing incumbent Kansen Chu to a runoff in November. As of deadline, Chu had more than 54 percent of the vote.
Knowing his bid had failed, Truong said he didn’t regret the potential of alienating his fellow officers by aligning himself with the mayor’s pension modification plan, Measure B, which had nearly a 70 percent approval.
“When I ran for this position, I couldn’t think like a cop,” Truong said. “If I was an executive of the city, making the decisions for everybody, I would make the same decision (to run).”
“Tam ran a great campaign,” Reed said. “He’s a courageous person—for a police officer to step out against the unions. Younger police officers and city employees understand they’re the ones at risk.”
District 2 incumbent Ash Kalra chose to sidestep an election party Tuesday night. Nonetheless, he certainly had reason to worry. His only challenger, Tim Murphy, nipped at his heels in the polls by garnering more than 46 percent of the vote, despite raising hardly any contributions in his council bid.
Mayor Reed called Murphy’s losing effort a referendum on Kalra and labor’s efforts over the last four years.
“If (Murphy) had spent any money I think he could have beat Ash Kalra,” Reed said. “He has been the No. 1 cheerleader for the unions.
“It was a pretty resounding ‘no’ vote, and clearly he was out of step with his constituents.”
Kalra disputed the mayor’s assessment.
“If I was the mayor, I would be more concerned about the fact that candidates with his endorsement seem to always lose, even in his home district,” Kalra said, noting Truong’s loss in District 4.
“I never expected it to be a landlside for a few reasons: one, I was essentially running a part time campaign; two, Mayor Reed and his millionaire cronies spent more money on Measure B in my district than I did on my race; and the voter turnout was ony 20 percent, which means it will be more conservative voters who lean toward Meaure B and may be against my stance on things like marriage equality and other issues.
“All in all, it was a good result and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of the residents.”
The clear winner of the primaries was Measure B. The mayor made the rounds from a brief victory party in Willow Glen before joining Truong and then moving on to a gathering for District 8 incumbent Rose Herrera, who will take part in a November runoff with Jimmy Nguyen, who had a surprisingly strong showing by taking second over Patricia Martinez-Roach.
The mayor called Measure B’s passage a victory on several counts.
“For the taxpayers it’s good news, because it means we’re going to restore services,” he said. “I think its pretty clear the unions’ only plan was that they couldn’t win on Measure B and they would try to gain control of the council by getting Rose Herrera out, because we only had a six person majority. That was clearly their strategy and they spent hundreds of thousands against Rose. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”