Two congressional candidates alike. Now recount requests are making things even more complicated

Left, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-San Jose, talks with Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chat after the opening session of the California Assembly in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Center, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian speaks during an opening ceremony of the nursing careers and electric vehicle programs at the Silicon Valley Career Technical Education campus in San Jose, California, on Friday, October 8. August 27, 2023. Right, FILE – In this March 28, 2020 file photo, San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy campus in Sunnyvale, California. A lawsuit against the city of San Jose and Mayor Liccardo alleges he used private email to secretly conduct business in the city to circumvent public records laws. In one email, the mayor of California’s third-largest city referred a conversation to his personal account and wrote: I’m going to delete this from my public account, the lawsuit claims. (AP Photo/Jos Luis Villegas,File, Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images, Beth LaBerge/KQED via AP, Pool, File)
(AP Photo/Jos Luis Villegas,File, Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images, Beth LaBerge/KQED via AP, Pool)

Two congressional candidates alike. Now recount requests are making things even more complicated

Elections 2024, California politics

Julia Wick

April 13, 2024

The astonishing story of an even battle in Silicon Valley Congress took a new twist this week, with several citizens filing official requests for a recount.

Two candidates finished in second place in the primary to replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park), meaning both she and the runner-up will face off in the November general election, according to California election code. All three are prominent local Democrats who campaigned seriously in the primaries.

The planned three-way race is, to say the least, a highly unusual outcome, even in the wild world of California politics.

It’s the first time this has happened in a congressional race since the state switched to its nonpartisan primary system in 2012, which dictates that the top two winners advance to the November ballot regardless of party affiliation.


A recount could theoretically mean a three-way race in November if vote totals change.

The calls for



which could cost civilian applicants hundreds of thousands of dollars has also raised questions about who is really behind the effort and triggered a new round of mudslinging with the campaign.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and Assemblymember Evan Low, who repeatedly switched positions as votes were counted,


each finished with 30,249 votes. The first-place winner, former San Jos Mayor Sam Liccardo, has a safe spot on the November ballot even if a recount shifts a handful of votes. Liccardo finished with 38,489 votes, well ahead of his challengers.

“It’s hard to believe this is actually happening,” veteran Democratic strategist Darry Sragow said with a laugh about the latest twists in the race.

Sragow, who has been involved in campaigns since Richard Nixon was president, said he had never faced an election tie in his 50 years in politics. It’s not something strategists ever plan for or even think about, he said.

The district is predominantly Democratic and includes parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View and part of the city of San Jos.

Santa Clara and San Mateo County election officials both said they were preparing to begin recounting votes on Monday, provided they receive the necessary financial deposits from applicants.

Both county offices received two recount requests earlier this week, one from software developer Dan Stegink and the other from Jonathan Padilla, a former Liccardo campaign staffer who is co-founder and CEO of the data company Snickerdoodle Labs, according to Padilla’s LinkedIn page.

California election code requires any voter to request a recount as long as he or she is willing to pay


its costs


. They must also announce for which candidate the request has been made.


Padilla and Stegink have submitted an application on Low’s behalf. Stegink said he was submitting a request on his behalf


Simitian and Low, but called Low because he had to choose one candidate and chose alphabetically, according to paperwork shared by the Santa Clara County registrar’s office.

Low’s campaign opposes both recount requests, saying they do

they have

had no contact with the applicants.

They have accused Liccardo’s campaign of being behind the recounts.

“There is no doubt that Sam Liccardo orchestrated this recount, and Padilla’s statement that the recount is on behalf of our campaign is simply dishonest. Sam Liccardo clearly doesn’t think he can win a three-way race as he shows he will do anything to avoid one. Low spokesman Clay Volino said in a statement on Wednesday. “Instead of requesting the recount himself, Sam hides behind a former staffer who organizes an extremely expensive and time-consuming recount for political gain.”

Orrin Evans, Liccardo’s political adviser, confirmed that Padilla had worked for Liccardo during his first mayoral campaign a decade ago, but said the campaign was unequivocally unrelated to the recount.

But Evans welcomed the request, saying in a statement that “recounts are part of the state’s election process to ensure accuracy” and noting that Santa Clara County did not include more than 100 ballots in their “final” due to issues with the verification of voter signatures and others. problems.problems.

Simitian seemed determined to stay in the fight, issuing a statement saying: “Eventually this process will work itself out. My job is to stay focused on how I can best represent the people of our district. And that’s what I do. .”

Padilla did not immediately respond to questions to his attorney, but issued a lengthy statement Wednesday on the social media platformHe said he had been involved in Democratic campaigns since childhood and was confused why “other Democrats don’t believe in counting the votes and ensuring that the will of the people is reflected transparently.”


who submitted the other recount request,

said he did

no prior

contact one of the campaigns.

Speaking to The Times from the Memphis airport while on his way home from a trip to Graceland with his children, Stegink said he made the request because he believed his next congressional representative would need a majority of votes would have to be chosen, as would be the case in a two-way race, rather than by a much smaller number of votes, as might be the case in a three-way contest.

A manual recount of votes in Santa Clara County would cost about $32,000 a day for 10 days, for a total cost of about $320,000, said Michael Borja, spokesman for the county recorder. The county would need a $32,000 deposit to start the process Monday.

San Mateo County’s costs would ultimately depend on a number of factors, but would likely be “in the neighborhood of about $84,000 for a manual recount,” according to Assistant Chief Elections Officer Jim Irizarry. His office would require a $5,000 deposit to begin work



It’s possible the costs could be refunded depending on the outcome of the recount, but there are still open questions about how that would work in this situation.

According to California Target Book, Santa Clara County accounts for the vast majority of voters in the district, with about 82% living there and about 18% living in San Mateo County.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles