On Wednesday morning, labor leader Cindy Chavez was leading the race to fill a Santa Clara County Supervisor's seat left by disgraced George Shirakawa Jr, but she didn't have enough votes to win outright, forcing a runoff election on July 30.
With all 58 precints reporting, Chavez had 41 percent of the votes following the Tuesday night special election, with water district communications manager Teresa Alvarado following behind with 31 percent of the votes. To win, contenders would have had to have won with more than 50 percent of the vote.
The costly $500,000 special election was held to fill the District 2 seat held by Shirakawa Jr., who pleaded guilty in March to 12 counts of corruption and theft of public funds. His plea saved him from a possible eight-year prison stint. He is now expected to be sentenced on Friday, where a judge will decide to honor his agreement with prosecutors to spend no more than one year in county jail.
Shirakawa Jr. resigned hours after he was charged on March 1, and admitted that he has long battled depression and a gambling addicition.
The mail-in ballots will be counted by Friday, with provisional votes to be tallied by Monday, elections officials said. Turnout was less than 17 percent of the 117,456 registered voters inistrict 2 for the nonpartisan contest. That percentage doesn't include the provisional and last-minute mail-in ballots.
The other candidates vying for the seat that represents Downtown San Jose and the city's East Side are Scott Hung Pham, a 49-year-old Vietnamese-American college instructor (14 percent), Patricia Martinez-Roach, 63, a schoolteacher and former school board member (7 percent); Joseph La Jeunesse, 44, a deputy county sheriff (3 percent); and David Wall, 58, a retired San Jose city employee (3 percent.) Andrew Diaz, 70, was a write-in candidate.
There were elections in other Bay Area counties as well on Tuesday night. Hercules voters passed a utility users tax with 70 percent of the vote. The Bolinas-Stinson Union School District passed Measure A, a special tax assessment, with 66.7 percent of the vote. And Watsonville's Measure T lost in a landslide: 77 percent of the voters rejected a proposal to expand onto 95 acres of farmland. Opponents, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, had argued the land was too valuable for growing crops to pave over to solve the city's economic woes.