Santa Clara

Anthony Becker Concedes to Lisa Gillmor in Santa Clara Mayoral Race

NBC Universal, Inc.

The hotly contested mayor’s race in Santa Clara has come to an end. 

Mayor Lisa Gillmor said Thursday that her opponent, who was heavily supported by the 49ers, has conceded. 

Despite being outspent by millions, Gillmor has been re-elected after a tight and contentious race against Councilman Anthony Becker.

The race was tracked nationally after the 49ers donated heavily to her opponent.

“It was our residents telling special interests ‘we can’t be bought,’” she said. “We’re a city that refuses to be owned by the owner of a football team.”

Gillmor has long been critical of how the 49ers run the publicly-owned Levi’s Stadium.

The city and team have filed lawsuits against each other over a number of issues.

Then, a month before the election, a civil grand jury accused Becker and four other council members of putting the 49ers interests above the city’s. 

The council members denied it and the 49ers called the findings politically motivated. 

Gillmor said the city has many other focuses, but the team has been a key issue in this race.

“I’m glad that for the next four years as mayor I’ll be mayor, to hold them accountable,” she said. “To make sure that the city of Santa Clara receives the benefit from the management of the stadium and the finances from the stadium that we’re owed. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

For the first few days after the election, the race was separated by just a few dozen votes. But now it’s hundreds.

Gilmor said Becker texted her and conceded the race on Wednesday.

“You know, you could look at the Niners in a couple of ways. One is they’re a tremendous source of revenue for the city. Both, not only in the rents that they pay, but the sales tax that they collect,” said political analyst Larry Gerston. “On the other hand some would say to what extent are they running the city in a de facto way.”

Filings show Becker outspent Gillmor 8 to 1.

Largely funded by pacs connected to the Niners ownership.

“The Niners have made it clear, they don’t want Gillmor there,” said Gerston. “Given the past two election cycles there’s every reason to expect they’ll be pumping millions more into the next election cycle and the one after that until they get the city government that appeals to them.”

NBC Bay Area reached out to councilman Becker, but has not heard back.

The 49ers wrote in a statement:

“We congratulate all candidates on their campaigns. We will move forward in the spirit of collaboration and partnership and look forward to working with the mayor, the re-elected council members, and all local officials, to support our community.”

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.

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