SAN JOSE -- While much of the attention -- and money -- for San Jose's election season has been focused on the race for mayor, dozens of contenders are also raising big bucks in hopes of being voted on to the City Council.
Fundraising reports filed by a deadline late Monday night provide the first glimpse into who is most likely to be a serious candidate and who is just filling up the ballot for the five City Council races in the June primary. The contestants running for three open seats and the two incumbents seeking re-election combined to raise about $560,000 from Dec. 5 to March 17.
The most money early on is flowing into the downtown District 3 battle to replace Sam Liccardo. There, businessman Don Gagliardi has raised more than any other San Jose council candidate, nearly $71,000. He is relying mostly on cash from the district's large and politically active business community.
But right behind him, retired business manager Kathy Sutherland, a former aide to ex-Councilwoman Nancy Pyle, had pulled together $56,000 -- and a lot of her contributors were seniors, a key voting block in any election. Police Officer Raul Peralez, relying on donations from his fellow cops, hauled in $46,000.
Next on the ticket is the west-side District 1, where the only candidate who has been elected to public office -- state Assemblyman Paul Fong -- is finding himself facing a field of well-funded challengers. As expected, Fong has received the support of the city's strong labor unions, and with nearly $52,000 raised, he leads the early funding battle in the race to replace Pete Constant.
A few bucks behind him, however, is former high-tech manager Charles "Chappie" Jones, who has won the backing of the city's conservative establishment and Mayor Chuck Reed while adding $20,000 in loans from his own bank account.
Also raising significant cash, though less than half the haul of Fong or Jones, are teacher Susan Marsland and business analyst Bob Levy.
The other open seat, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen's spot representing the central District 7, is also a tight contest between three school board members and an attorney.
Xavier Campos, running for re-election to the east-side District 5, is facing a rematch of the controversial 2010 election he won, though his two competitors, who also ran against him four years ago, missed Monday's 11:59 p.m. deadline to file contribution reports. They still hadn't submitted papers Tuesday.
Lastly, Councilman Don Rocha in District 9 looks to have the simplest road to winning, as his lone opponent has yet to file any papers demonstrating a fundraising campaign.
In each contest, candidates can win four-year terms in the June 3 primary by securing more than 50 percent of the vote; otherwise, the top two candidates compete in a November runoff.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.
Fundraising began Dec. 5 and the latest reporting period covers Jan. 1 to March 17
District 1 (western edge of San Jose, vacant seat)
Paul Fong, state assemblyman: $51,686 (latest period: $22,921)
Charles "Chappie" Jones, high-tech manager: $51,114 total (latest period: $19,779)
Susan Marsland, teacher: $21,217 total (latest period: $6,709)
Bob Levy, senior business analyst: $20,525 total (latest period: $11,398)
Richard McCoy, retired electronics engineer: $7,614 total (latest period: $6,209)
Art Zimmermann, community volunteer: $350 total (latest period: $350)
Tim Gildersleeve, paratransit operator: nothing filed
District 3 (downtown San Jose, vacant seat)
Don Gagliardi, businessman: $70,942 total (latest period: $34,609)
Kathy Sutherland, retired business manager: $56,002 total (latest period: $33,742)
Raul Peralez, police officer: $46,437 total (latest period: $31,132)
George Kleidon, teacher: $18,182 total (latest period: $7,811)
Mauricio Mejia Jr., small business owner: $10,642 total (latest period: $9,527)
John Hosmon, EMT: $8,350 total (latest period: $8,350)
District 5 (north-east San Jose)
Xavier Campos, incumbent: $40,338 total (latest period: $31,388)
Magdalena Carrasco, East Side Union High School board: latest papers not filed; previous total was $7,050
Aaron Resendez, business consultant: nothing filed
District 7 (central San Jose, vacant seat)
Van Le, East Side Union High School board: $51,789 total (latest period: $30,779)
Tam Nguyen, attorney: $39,801 total (latest period: $36,616)
Buu Thai, Franklin-McKinley school board: $16,524 total (latest period: $8,363)
Maya Esparza, Franklin-McKinley school board: $11,520 total (latest period: $5,279)
District 9 (south-west San Jose)
Don Rocha, incumbent: $32,739 total (latest reporting period: $18,267)
Lois Wilco-Owens, family therapist: nothing filed
*Source: documents candidates filed with the city clerk's office by Monday night's deadline; includes loans. All candidates that are qualified for the ballot are listed.