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November 28, 2021

Primary season kicks off

The most hotly contested local primary on June 5 could be in the 30th Assembly District, which encompasses all of San Benito County, much of Monterey County, and portions of southern Santa Cruz County, and southern Santa Clara County, including Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
Incumbent Anna Caballero termed out, and is running for the California State Senate in the12th District, leaving a wide-open race for her seat, with six candidates—four Democrats and two Republicans.
California’s primary system sends the top two vote-getters to the General Election in November, regardless of party affiliation.
The Assembly race pits city against city, as four popular local elected officials hope to make the jump to Sacramento, and are counting on their local support to carry the day.
San Benito County Supervisor Robert Rivas of Hollister is one of the Democratic candidates. He is a counselor at San Benito High School. He has received Caballero’s endorsement.
His candidacy information can be found at
Hollister’s neighbor to the north, Gilroy, is offering up its Democratic favorite son, two-term City Councilmember Peter Leroe-Munoz. He is Vice-President of Technology and Innovation Policy for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, based in San Jose.
His information:
These cities’ neighbor to the west, in Santa Cruz County, has its own Democratic candidate for the 30th District, another local politician, Watsonville City Councilwoman Trina Coffman-Gomez.
Her website is
The fourth Democrat in the 30th District race is from its largest city, Salinas: Bill Lipe, a manager with Fresh Foods, Inc. in Salinas. His website is at
The two Republicans vying for a spot on the November ballot in the 30th District are Nathan Mallamace of San Benito County at and Neil Kitchens, a lawyer and rancher from Salinas, whose website is
Santa Clara County Sheriff
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s race could get heated before the June 5 election, with five candidates—including Sheriff Laurie Smith—vying for the county’s top law enforcement office. A candidate will require more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in order to be declared the victor in the election.
The Sheriff’s Office has a staff of 1,800 sworn and non-sworn employees and an annual budget of about $308 million. The elected sheriff serves a term of four years.
Although a sixth candidate, Joe A. Lopez, remains on the unofficial list, a Registrar of Voters spokesman said he did not qualify for the June ballot.
Candidates listed on the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters’ “unofficial candidate list” are:

  • Joe La Jeunesse, currently a Santa Clara County deputy sheriff. He is also a retired major in the U.S. Army who served overseas in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Iraq and other regions, according to his campaign website. His website is

He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College.

  • Martin J. Monica, retired Chief of Police for the City of Parlier in Fresno County. He lives in Palo Alto. His campaign website,, is currently “under construction.”

Monica previously ran for Santa Clara County Sheriff in 2010. He worked for the San Jose Police Department for 18 years.

  • Jose Salcido, Public Safety Advisor for San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis. He has been a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy since 1977 and a lieutenant since 2002, according to his campaign website, Salcido is a resident of Willow Glen.
  • Laurie Smith, currently serving her fifth term as Santa Clara County Sheriff. She began her public safety career in 1973 as a “Deputy Sheriff Matron,” which is now a defunct title that used to be applied to female law enforcement officers, according to her campaign website, She has worked for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office her entire public safety career, and has been sheriff since 1998.
  • John Hirokawa, retired Santa Clara County Undersheriff. He worked for the local sheriff’s office for nearly 40 years, starting as a “rank and file deputy in the county jail,” until he retired as undersheriff, the second-highest ranking position in the office, according to his campaign website, He also served as the county’s Chief of the Department of Correction just before he retired. Hirokawa lives in Saratoga.

Recall race
The recall election of Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky is the only contested judge’s race on the June 2018 Santa Clara County ballot. In that race, private civil attorney Angela F. Storey of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Cindy Seeley Hendrickson are listed as the only two candidates.
Storey’s campaign Facebook page is titled “Angela Storey for Judge 2018.” Hendrickson’s Facebook page is called “Cindy Hendrickson For Judge.”
Persky is not listed as a candidate to retain his judge’s seat. The special “successor to recall” election was placed on the ballot by a citizen initiative, in response to uproar over Persky’s sentencing of convicted sexual assault suspect Brock Turner. Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman at a Stanford University party in 2016.
Because the race is a special election, these candidates have until March 22 to qualify, according to the Registrar’s office.
Twenty-five other Superior Court Judge races will be listed on the June 5 ballot, but only the incumbent has qualified in each of these elections.
Unopposed races
County Supervisor Mike Wasserman is running unopposed for re-election to his District 1 seat, which represents unincorporated areas of Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy and South County. He is currently serving his second four-year term.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is running unopposed for his third consecutive four-year term. He was first elected to the county’s top prosecutor position in 2010.
Larry Stone, the county’s tax assessor, will again be running unopposed in 2018. He was first elected to that office in 1994.
To see the complete list of candidates and other information about the June 5 election, visit the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website,

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