As Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese steps down from the District 3 seat he has held for 10 years to run for the state Senate, four others are vying in a close race for his position in next week's primary election.
San Jose City Councilwoman and former Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, state Assemblyman Kansen Chu, former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee, and former San Jose Planning Commissioner John Leyba are on Tuesday's ballot for the District 3 seat, which covers parts of East and North San Jose, Milpitas, Alviso and the northern half of Sunnyvale.
The candidates have all singled out the regional housing crisis and homelessness as priorities in their campaigns, along with mental health advocacy, drug rehabilitation, and municipal transit improvements.
Carrasco, who grew up in Santa Clara County and represents East San Jose for the City Council, shares Cortese's background as a vice mayor and board member for the East Side Union High School District.
She's highlighting her experience as a social worker and her environmental leadership through the San Jose Clean Energy program, and is endorsed by county Supervisor Cindy Chavez, state Assemblymember Ash Kalra, and state Sens. Kevin de Leon, Bob Wieckowski and Jim Beall.
Lee has received a key endorsement from the Silicon Valley Democratic Club, served nearly 30 years in the U.S. Navy through the Iraq War, and markets himself as Sunnyvale's "Green Mayor" for leading a charge on climate change with the city's Sustainability Commission.
He wants to work with police departments, county hospitals, public safety and health organizations to ensure sufficient staffing and resources.
In 2008, Lee ran against Cortese for the District 3 seat but lost the race.
Chu's state Assembly district covers Milpitas, parts of Santa Clara, San Jose, Fremont, Newark and a majority of the open space in east Santa Clara County.
He has lengthy plans to address homelessness through partnerships between the public and private sectors, create housing for teachers and public safety personnel and prevent displacement by protecting the existing rental market. He served as a San Jose City Councilman overseeing District 4 in North San Jose before he joined the state Assembly.
Leyba is calling for more fiscal accountability and county government transparency in his campaign for the open supervisor seat, and establishing a hardline stance on enforcing existing laws to combat homeless encampments, in addition to supporting mental health and rehabilitation programs.
He grew up in East San Jose served as a San Jose planning commissioner for about a year before resigning due to familial obligations and the supervisor race.