Caserta suspends election campaign, but name still on ballot

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Dominic Caserta, who resigned from the Santa Clara City Council yesterday, is still a candidate for District 4 Santa Clara County Supervisor, even after suspending his election campaign.

The county's Registrar of Voters office says that 130,048 ballots have already been mailed to voters in District 4, and nearly 2,900 ballots have been returned as of Tuesday. Eric Kurhi, a spokesman for the registrar's office, says voters cannot change their ballots once mailed in.

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That means it's still a possibility Caserta could be a contender in a race with six other candidates running.

That possibility was highlighted when ABC7 News knocked on the door of a home on Benton Street in Santa Clara where a Caserta campaign lawn sign was planted in the front yard.

The resident said he was voting for Caserta, but did not know that Caserta has suspended his campaign. A woman getting out of her car at the city's Senior Center, a resident since 1962, said she did not think the mail-in ballots already cast would have an impact.

Caserta's whereabouts are unknown. His cell phone has been disconnected, and there was no answer at his home on Fremont Street.

The Santa Clara Unified School District's assistant superintendent did not respond to a request for an interview and to clarify whether Caserta has been suspended from teaching duties at Santa Clara High School.

Caserta is also a part-time instructor in the political science department at Foothill Colege in Los Altos Hills. One of his students, Lydia Jungkind, an exchange student from Germany, has accused Caserta of sexual harassment while she was a student and while she was a campaign volunteer.

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The college's interim public relations director issued a statement that "the college... is in the process of gathering more facts regarding the matter. The college has not reached any conclusions regarding the complaint."

Caserta's former campaign manager, Ian Crueldad, said he resigned after witnessing what he considered inappropriate behavior. Crueldad said he tried to warn Caserta several times to watch his behavior, but his advice was ignored.

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