SAN JOSE -- The dozens of candidates running for San Jose City Council have loaded up their final campaign war chests heading into the upcoming primary, and it's clear there are only a few big-money contenders in each race.
As of Thursday night's deadline to report fundraising figures, the rankings in each of the five council money races remain unchanged from the last time the candidates disclosed their finances two months ago.
It comes half-way through the mail-voting process for the June 3 primary, where candidates can win their race with more than 50 percent of the vote. But with three open seats and another one hotly contested, most of the races are expected to come down to runoffs between the top two primary vote-getters, to be decided in the November election.
In the headline race for mayor, the fundraising numbers were revealed late Thursday: Councilman Sam Liccardo stayed on top, nearing the maximum spending limit of about $795,000. Jumping into second was county Supervisor Dave Cortese with $567,000, and falling into third was Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen at $477,000. Rounding out the field was Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio at $298,000 and Rose Herrera at $131,000.
City Council candidate and businessman Don Gagliardi, who's running to replace the termed-out Liccardo in the downtown District 3, raised the most among the council candidates: $102,000.
Retired business manager Kathy Sutherland is close behind at $76,000 in District 3 and has actually spent about as much as Gagliardi. Police officer Raul Peralez, who's gained financial support from his fellow cops, is in third with nearly $60,000 raised. By comparison, no other third-place finisher in the other council races has even reached $35,000.
The second-most money has been flowing into the west-side District 1 race to replace termed-out Councilman Pete Constant. Assemblyman Paul Fong ($88,000 raised) has leveraged his backing from unions and fellow state legislators to catapult further ahead of second-place challenger Charles "Chappie" Jones ($71,000), who has the support of the business community and moderate council members.
The District 1 money race continues to be the closest of all the contests on the June ballot. Fong raised more money than any candidate in any of the council races in the most recent two-month reporting period, which spanned through May 17.
In the heated District 5 race, a rematch from a controversial 2010 match-up, Councilman Xavier Campos ($63,000 raised) has put even more distance between himself and challenger Magdalena Carrasco ($38,000), from the East Side Union High School board.
The councilman has again relied on support from unions to raise the bulk of his cash and has sent out three mailers to voters. But in a sign that the powerful labor groups are hedging their bets, several unions in recent weeks also gave money to Carrasco, who previously had been chiefly backed by business groups. But she's still been only able to spend one-third the money Campos spent in the last two months.
The fundraising spigot has mostly slowed to a trickle in the last few months in the central San Jose District 7 battle to replace Nguyen, who is also termed out. The one exception was East Side Union High School board member Van Le, who has continued to pull in significant cash -- largely from businesses, conservatives and large loans to herself -- and is now well ahead of her three competitors.
The only simple race is in the south-west District 9, where Councilman Don Rocha is crushing his only challenger, a politically untested therapist who has only raised a few thousand bucks.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/rosenbergmerc.
Fundraising began Dec. 5 and the latest period covers March 18 to May 17
District 1 (western edge of San Jose, vacant seat)
Paul Fong, state assemblyman: $87,989 total (latest period: $36,303)
Charles "Chappie" Jones, high-tech manager: $71,092 total (latest period: $19,978)
Susan Marsland, teacher: $32,826 total (latest period: $11,609)
Bob Levy, senior business analyst: $24,168 total (latest period: $3,643)
Richard McCoy, retired electronics engineer: $7,814 total (latest period: $200)
Art Zimmermann, community volunteer: $1,856 total (latest period: $1,506)
Tim Gildersleeve, paratransit operator: $0
District 3 (downtown San Jose, vacant seat)
Don Gagliardi, businessman: $101,812 total (latest period: $30,870)
Kathy Sutherland, retired business manager: $76,234 total (latest period: $20,207)
Raul Peralez, police officer: $59,951 total (latest period: $13,514)
George Kleidon, teacher: latest papers not filed; previous total was $18,182
Mauricio Mejia Jr., small business owner: $15,037 total (latest period: $4,395)
John Hosmon, EMT: $10,125 total (latest period: $1,775)
District 5 (north-east San Jose)
Xavier Campos, incumbent: $62,713 total (latest period: $22,375)
Magdalena Carrasco, East Side Union High School board: $38,014 total (latest period: $15,212)
Aaron Resendez, business consultant: latest papers not filed; previous total was $16,359
District 7 (central San Jose, vacant seat)
Van Le, East Side Union High School board: $70,919 total (latest period: $19,130)
Tam Nguyen, attorney: $45,141 total (latest period: $5,340)
Buu Thai, Franklin-McKinley school board: $24,164 total (latest period: $7,640)
Maya Esparza, Franklin-McKinley school board: $20,510 total (latest period: $8,990)
District 9 (south-west San Jose)
Don Rocha, incumbent: $51,964 total (latest period: $19,225)
Lois Wilco-Owens, family therapist: $3,355 (latest period: $3,255)
*Source: documents candidates filed with the city clerk's office; includes loans and non-monetary contributions.