Incumbent City Councilwoman Rose Herrera won the election Tuesday night in a bitter battle with political newcomer Jimmy Nguyen.
By midnight, NBC had called the District 8 race in her favor.
"I'm really honored to serve this community," Herrera said, even before the race was called.
The race became embroiled in a bitter political battle over pension reform.
City employee unions made it their mission to unseat Herrera after she supported San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's pension reform Measure B.
Nguyen is a mediator at the Santa Clara County Courts for both civil harassment and small claims courts, and a political novice by any account.
But he came in second in the June primary and that put him against Herrera for the District 8 seat.
What makes the race critical is that the winner of District 8 could tip the balance of power on the divided city council, where Reed leads a fragile majority in his effort to reduce employee retirement costs.