SJ mayor endorses councilman as replacement

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
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San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is throwing his support behind Councilman Sam Liccardo in the race for the city's top job.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed gave endorsement in the race for the top job. Reed dominated his opponents during his two campaigns, but will his endorsement have the same effect over voters in the upcoming election?

It's no big surprise that he's backing one of his allies on the council. But what impact will it actually have in November?

Politics is often about relationships. And what better relationship for a mayoral candidate to have than with a man who received more than 75 percent of the vote in the last election in 2010 -- Reed.

On Monday, Reed made his endorsement of Liccardo official, but he already showed his hand after the primary election.

"The battle lines are pretty well drawn," said Reed. "It's going in the direction that allows us to restore services as we were doing for the last three years, or going back to the old method of cutting services every year to balance the budget."

Councilman Liccardo's opponent, Dave Cortese, has also picked up some big endorsements. The police officer and firefighter unions are backing the Santa Clara County supervisor. And so are several former San Jose police chiefs.

His supporters at the South Bay Labor Council say Monday's announcement from Reed was expected.

"And so it's no surprise that this endorsement comes," said Ben Field with the South Bay Labor Council. "And I think it's a sign that Liccardo will continue to lead the same direction that Reed has led which has been a disaster for public safety. People are less safe because of the policies that they have instituted."

The big question -- do endorsements matter?

Experts say it can help with name recognition and fundraising, but may not have a big direct impact on voters.

A Washington Post-Pew Research Center Survey in 2012 revealed endorsements didn't make much of a difference to a majority of voters, whether it came from a clergy member, a governor, or your local newspaper.

People we spoke with say the endorsement is only as strong as the person doing the endorsing.

"If it the endorser is someone who has helped the community a lot and has made the community grow, then yes, I will pay attention," said San Jose voter Alejandro Ochoa.

"The endorsement itself is not as important just the fact that it's an endorsement but if it's really someone I already trust then that's very important to me," said San Jose voter Cristina Azzola.

Cortese beat Liccardo by almost 8 percent in the primary election. However, Reed says 60 percent of the votes went to candidates who supported his fiscal reforms.