San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed decided to endorse Johnny Khamis for the District 10 City Council seat in November’s election.
Reed, who was joined in supporting Khamis with former San Jose Councilmember Pat Dando and State Assemblymember Jim Cunneen, both of whom are Republicans, called Khamis “a long time friend and a loyal supporter” in a press release sent out Tuesday morning. His selection is interesting on a number of fronts.
First, Reed has a poor endorsement record—and that’s putting it politely—when it comes to picking winners. As we noted in a post in August regarding Reed’s endorsement of Don Gage for mayor of Gilroy, Reed backed losing council candidates such as Hon Thi Lien (District 4), Larry Pegram (District 9), Magdalena Carrasco (District 5), and Tam Truong (District 4; Reed’s old district before becoming mayor) all in just the last four years.
The second item of note is that Khamis is a Republican, and Braunstein is a Democrat. Reed’s office insists the mayor is a Democrat, but as we’ve noted in the past, his stance on social issues combined with his efforts to cut retirement benefits leaves him leaning further to the right than anyone else on the council, except Pete Constant.
In an email to supporters Tuesday morning, Braunstein voiced his disappointment with the mayor’s decision while noting their common goals, such as Measure B reforms, bringing the Oakland A’s to San Jose, and opposing Measure D—the minimum wage ballot measure.
A member of Braunstein’s campaign put it this way: “The mayor’s history of choosing City Council candidates hasn’t been so much the golden touch but the kiss of death. However, we like the mayor, we respect the mayor and we look forward to working with him.”
The Mercury News’ Tracy Seipel recently wrote a feature comparing Khamis and Braunstein, and the overarching theme seemed to be that Braunstein has the Police Officers Association’s endorsement in the November runoff, so how can he really be pro-Measure B? But the POA endorsed Edesa Bitbadal in the primary, and she too said she supported Measure B. Bitbadal confirmed that Braunstein questioned the endorsement she received from the POA in the primary, but she called it fair game.
“As [Braunstein] has seen as well, the endorsement does not come with any strings attached,” she said. “It’s only proof that the person receiving that endorsement will fight crime.”
A better takeaway from this seems to be that Mayor Reed and the POA are intractable enemies, and Reed’s interests are one in the same with Silicon Valley Republicans. Or maybe Reed is just really good friends with Khamis and their shared political consultant, Vic Ajlouny.