2 San Jose politicians with different career tracks poised to be mayor

Two San Jose politicians with vastly different career tracks are on a collision course to see who will be the next mayor.

What was once a crowded field of seven is down to two.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose City Councilman Matt Mahan will square off in November to see who’ll be next to occupy the mayor’s office on the 18th floor. Mayor Sam Liccardo termed out. 

Chavez, an experienced politician who served as vice mayor in 2005 and was then elected to the county board of supervisors, garnered a little more than 39% of the vote.

Mahan, a former tech exec with expertise in civil engagement, was just elected to the San Jose City Council two years ago. A year later, he launched his campaign for mayor.

The slow start early on, led to grassroots momentum, and Mahan grabbed the second-most amount of votes, a little over 32%. 

Since neither received more than 50%, they’ll face each other this fall to determine who’ll be the next San Jose mayor – the person will a long political track record, or the newcomer.

"I think voters want to see accountability and results," Mahan said Tuesday night. "I think we’ve been doing a lot of the same things and expecting different results. And it’s just time to take a different direction on crime, homelessness and affordable housing."

Chavez said she wants the tone of politics to change. 

"I think what people are tired of is folks pointing fingers at each other," she said. "And what folks want is for leaders to point fingers at themselves and say, ‘I see the problem. Here’s what I can do about it. And here’s what we can do about it. I think what people are excited about is that I have a track record of experience. But I’m completely prepared to take us in a new direction."