'Insider' or 'outsider'? Here's who is on track to win key SJ mayor, Santa Clara Co. Sheriff races

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Friday, November 11, 2022
Here's who is on track to win SJ mayor, Santa Clara Co. Sheriff races
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Here's who is on track to win the elections for the San Jose mayor and Santa Clara County Sheriff races.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The race for mayor of San Jose and Sheriff of Santa Clara County featured two candidates with years of experience working in the South Bay and two relatively new faces to the area.

And so far, it has been those newcomers leading the results.

Matt Mahan and Bob Jonsen took early leads in their races, touted by many as "outsider" candidates.

They told us someone who has a new look at old problems in South Bay is exactly what voters have been looking for.

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We spoke to Mahan today and Jonsen last week.

"I think it's clear the voters want new leadership," Jonsen said on Nov. 2. "One with a fresh perspective and one that has the experience to deliver the reform that's necessary."

"I think they want to hear us acknowledge that on homelessness, crime and affordable housing, we're moving in the wrong direction," Mahan said. "And, while we don't have total control over everything that happens in society, we need public policy to make things better."

Mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez and sheriff Candidate Kevin Jensen both have years of experience working in the South Bay -- both are trailing.

Chavez was unavailable to speak today, but told us last week there's no insider or outsider as she and Mahan have both worked in leadership roles.

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She recognizes that voters want change, but she said she wants it as well.

"We've got to get San Jose clean if we really want to see it safer. That really is the only path," Chavez said on Nov. 2. "I think that requires a level of experience and relationships in the community that will allow us to move a lot of people in a better direction."

Jensen meanwhile recognizes he is seen as the insider, but told us today that voters not recognizing he's been internally trying to fix issues attributed to former Sheriff Laurie Smith is unfair.

"I think you're right," Jensen said. "I think the people are looking for change. I've been calling for change for 12 years, and it's hard to get people to understand the nuances of a race and not just the topical, 'Here's a little about each race. I'm going to make my vote.'"

SJSU Political Science Professor Melinda Jackson told us even if the candidates feel they may not fit their insider or outsider mold, she thinks voters are making their feelings known.

"Voters are becoming impatient and really wanting faster progress on these issues," Jackson said.

The Registrar of voters is trying to process the majority of the ballots within the next week.

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