Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo likely to enter race for Congress

The battle to replace the retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo in a South Bay House seat next year is likely to draw another big name: former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. 

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Liccardo, who was termed out of office last year, will be the guest at a fundraiser Sunday at the home of Cooper Teboe, a top Silicon Valley fundraiser whose clients include Rep. Ro Khanna. He is expected to form an exploratory committee before then, Eric Jaye, a longtime Democratic political consultant who has advised Liccardo on his two mayoral runs, told the Chronicle on Tuesday.

Jaye, a former adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said Liccardo is consulting with thought leaders and others in the region about whether to run. 

“Is he very serious? You bet. Is he doing all the things a candidate does when they are very seriously looking at a race? For sure,” Jaye said. “He’s going to do his due diligence.” 

That includes raising money.

“I would love to invite you to come meet him and encourage you to donate to his campaign (I am personally giving a maxout donation),” Teboe wrote on the fundraiser invitation, which was first reported by business news site San Jose Spotlight.

While Liccardo has not yet filed the requisite paperwork to become a candidate, he has made no secret of his desire to run for Congress. Earlier this year, he told Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, that he had commissioned a poll on running against her and was considering a challenge. 

Lofgren told Spotlight: “I plan to run and I don’t usually run to lose.” 

Now Liccardo, 53, is eyeing another of the four House districts that represent portions of San Jose. Eshoo, 80, announced last week that she would not seek reelection next year. 

While Liccardo has some level of name recognition as the two-term mayor of California’s third-largest city, San Jose is split between four House districts. Jaye estimates that 36% to 40% of Eshoo’s House district is in the city of San Jose. Liccardo does not live in the district.  Members of the House are not required to live in the districts they represent.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, a friend of Eshoo’s, announced Wednesday that he also plans to run.

Simitian has $681,003 cash on hand in his House fundraising account — more than Eshoo ($599,672), according to campaign filings. Simitian has represented 85% of the congressional district over the more than two decades that he served in the Assembly, state Senate and on the Board of Supervisors. 

Assembly Member Evan Low, D-Sunnyvale, who has served nearly a decade in the Legislature after representing the city of Campbell on its City Council for eight years, is also likely to launch a campaign as soon as next week.

State Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, told the Chronicle on Tuesday that he’s been “honored by all the people reaching out to me about the seat. I do love my current job. I’m taking some time to think about it and I haven’t made a decision yet.” 

Jaye said a poll of 400 likely primary voters commissioned by Liccardo’s supporters over the weekend found that he was the favorite among the candidates eyeing the race, with 16% support, followed by Simitian with 12%. No other candidate reached double digits. 

Click here to read the full article in SF Chronicle


  1. Otis R. Needleman says


  2. Another Covid nazi. He’s a complete loser.

  3. NO LOW!

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