Two Silicon Valley congressional candidates tied for second place

With a tie for second place, three Democrats appear headed to the November ballot in the race for a coveted Silicon Valley congressional seat.

This extremely unusual situation comes after weeks of uncertainty, with runners-up Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell trading positions several times, often apart by only one or two votes. They appear to have finished the race with 30,249 votes each.

Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has held on to the top spot since the primary, securing his place on the November ballot with more than 38,000 votes.

“It was like watching a snail’s race — the most exciting snail’s race I’ve ever been to in my life,” said Marva Diaz, a political consultant and editor of the California Target Book election guide.

There appears to be no precedent for a three-way California congressional race since the state moved to its nonpartisan primary system in 2012, which requires the top two finishers to qualify for the November ballot regardless of their standing. left.

In the event of a tie for second place in a primary election, California election code states that both candidates appear on the general election ballot with the first place winner.

Candidates are fighting to replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo of Menlo Park in a safe Democratic district that includes parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The results are not yet official, although both counties said Wednesday that all ballots had been processed. County election officials must finalize their official tallies by Thursday, with the secretary of state’s office expected to certify the election results on April 12.

A three-way general election occurred in a 2016 Assembly race, when former Assemblymember Autumn Burke faced two other candidates, as California Target Book research director Rob Pyers. noted Wednesday.

But both challengers were tied registered candidates with 32 primary votes each, making this an uncompetitive general election — and a very different situation from the battle brewing in California’s 16th Congressional District.

Simitian, Low and Liccardo are all current or former elected officials who have run serious campaigns with significant fundraising.

If the count holds and all three candidates make it to the final ballot, Diaz said, the presence of three Democrats running robust campaigns would “change the dynamic tremendously” for the November election.

“Running against one other person is a lot different than running against two other people,” she said.

Eshoo announced his retirement in November after more than three decades in Congress. Democrats hold a more than 3-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans in the district, which includes the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View and part of the city of San Jose.

Once the votes are certified, either candidate can also request a recount, which they will have to pay for. But in a situation where they are both heading to the ballot, the political calculus for requesting a recount would be unclear at best, as it could potentially lead to either losing their spot.

Simitian communications director Francesca Segrè said Wednesday afternoon that her campaign would withhold comment until both counties have officially certified their results.

Low’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the Assembly member tweeted a smiling photo of himself wearing a shiny purple-colored tie, joking, “It’s a special ‘Tie’ day!”

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