Within the last couple of weeks, a few new candidates announced they’d be joining the Assemblymember race for AD25, the most recent being Milpitas’ Vice Mayor Karina Dominguez.
A few weeks before she officially joined the race, when Dominguez informed The Milpitas Beat that she would soon be announcing her candidacy for Assemblymember, she spoke of how important it was for her to run a grassroots campaign that reflects the values of those who live in AD25: “And if the needs of the community can’t be passed at a local level, then it’s our responsibility to try to get them passed at a state level,” said Vice Mayor Dominguez, making reference to her attempts to bring tenant protections to Milpitas this past April.
Dominguez, who became Milpitas’ Vice Mayor six months ago, will be running against Mayor Rich Tran, who stepped out of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors race back in May when Assemblymember Kansen Chu announced that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection for his AD25 seat.
“To understand Karina is to understand her spirit. And I would never get in the way of her chasing her dreams, no matter what they may be,” said Mayor Tran, when asked how he felt about Dominguez’s announcement, which now puts him in direct competition with his fellow member on the Milpitas City Council. “In this case, I’ll continue to support her as I always have, from the very first day she thought about running for office. As candidates for office, we all have our own path or journey. And none of our travels are the same. I don’t know where Karina will end up, but I know I won’t be in her way.”
Alex Lee, who announced he’d be running earlier this week, enters the race with state legislature experience, having served as an advocate, a legislative advisor, and a representative. A San Jose and Milpitas native, having grown up in both, Lee graduated from Milpitas High School. Later, at UC Davis, he attained degrees in Political Science and Communications.
Said Lee, upon announcing his run, “Families shouldn’t be priced out of the neighborhoods we grew up in. We deserve a leader who is bold and independent. I will fight for the future of our families. A future that is fair, sustainable, and affordable…I grew up in the South Bay, but if things don’t change now, I — like countless others — can’t afford a future here. We need bold solutions to solve the crises we face today. My experience in the Capitol makes me ready to legislate on day one.”
The loyal Republican opposition to outgoing Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Bob Brunton, who served on the Ohlone Community College District Board of Trustees for over a decade, recently announced his candidacy to The Milpitas Beat. He now finds himself stepping into a crowded race, squaring off against Tran, Dominguez, and Lee, along with Santa Clara County Office of Education Trustee Anna Song and Santa Clara School Unified School District Trustee Jim Canova.
Brunton lost to Chu three times: in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
Undeterred, Brunton steps into the current field with an eye toward once again crossing the primaries intact. Meanwhile, a question exists as to how much light he’ll receive from the press, particularly in a divisive cultural climate wherein even the remotest alignment to President Donald Trump can strike blue state voters as a major negative.
As Brunton said on The Erin Cruz Show during his last run, “I know my district very well, have lived here since the mid-70s. And have owned three businesses in the area over the decades. Was an elected official for 12 years in Fremont, which is in my district. And I really understand this district from its edge to its edge. And now I’m going to Sacramento to start fixing things.”