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2020 Election SeriesLIVE BLOG: Election Day in Milpitas

LIVE BLOG: Election Day in Milpitas

Scroll from the bottom to read in chronological order.

After more than a year of campaigning and almost eight months of post-primary canvassing, Milpitas voters headed to the polls to vote on everything from president to the city council.

We’ll update this space throughout the day — and late into the night if we have to. Send election-related tips here.

11:30 a.m.

Write-in candidate and former Planning Commissioner Demetress Morris has conceded her race for city council. As of 9 a.m., Morris had only won 147 votes.

10:00 a.m.

There were a few other races on residents’ ballots this election cycle: the battle for county board of education and the race for San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board.

County Board of Education, Area 5

The county board of education race featured 20-year incumbent Anna Song, who briefly ran in the Assembly District 25 race, and public elementary school teacher Victoria Chon. The winner of this race will represent students within a majority portion of the Santa Clara Unified, Milpitas Unified, Orchard, Berryessa Union and a portion of East Side Union High school districts.

Chon continues to hold a lead of about four points, which had tightened by late Tuesday night.

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Click to enlarge.

Chon won out in fundraising and the important endorsements of the California Teachers Association and the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.

Read more on Chon here and Song here.

San Jose-Evergreen Community College District, Area 1

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Click to enlarge.

The other education race featured incumbent Rudy Nasol and former Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood. The two have kept relatively low profiles in the race. Livengood is currently in the lead. He gain endorsements from all members of the Milpitas City Council and a majority of the Milpitas Unified school board.

Nasol was unavailable for an interview with the Beat before Election Day. Read our profile on Livengood here.

9:15 a.m.

Alex Lee wins Assembly District 25 race

Source: Alex Lee

Alex Lee will succeed incumbent Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the state assembly. Lee, 25, will become the state’s youngest Asian American, first openly bisexual and first Gen-Z legislator in history.

Source: California Secretary of State. Click to enlarge.

“I’m deeply grateful to the diverse communities of Assembly District 25,” said Lee in a press release. “The significance of our victory is part of a bigger, progressive movement ready to fight for a better future for all of us.”

Lee beat out seven other Democrats in the March primary to advance to the general election against perennial Republican candidate Bob Brunton. Along the way, he gained endorsements from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Democratic presidential nominee Andrew Yang and the Democratic Socialists of America.

He is a backer of the Green New Deal, universal healthcare, and tuition-free college for California students. In addition, he wants to see the state reinvest in public K-12 schools, more accountability for charter schools, and stronger wages for educators. He previously interned for former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda and worked in the offices of state Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) and Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell).

Lee will also be the first Milpitas High School graduate to represent the district, which includes all of Milpitas and Newark, Santa Clara and parts of Fremont and North San Jose.

“When we announced our campaign last June, we were the underdog,” said Lee. “And with this victory, we’re challenging the status quo. We’re proof that if you have a dream and you fight for it, you can get there. Despite being outspent 15 to 1 in the primary, our commitment to running a clean money campaign, our focus on the community, and our clear vision for the future is what resonated with people.”

More on Lee here.

9:00 a.m.

Good morning from the Beat. The county has posted another update this morning.

City council

Incumbent Anthony Phan remains at the top of the field with 19.5%. Planning Commissioner Evelyn Chua is second with 18.82%. If these results hold, Vice Mayor Bob Nunez will lose his seat in favor of Chua.

County supervisor

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Click to Enlarge

Former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee continues to hold a healthy lead over Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the District 3 race.

Measure F

The city-backed use tax measure leads by about 20 points.

Mayoral race

We called the mayoral race earlier this morning. Mayor Rich Tran has won a third term in a landslide.

1:00 a.m.

That’s a wrap from us here at the Beat for now. Thanks for joining us on our live blog. We’ll be up around 9 a.m. to give you the latest updates.

12:55 a.m.

The Beat spoke with Rich Tran, who coasted to a victory to defend his mayoral seat, and wrapped up an election night party at seafood restaurant Crawdaddy with Planning Commissioner Evelyn Chua. He said he hoped early returns will hold, giving Chua a council victory.

“There’s nothing more of a focus to me than representing our residents, and taking care of our city’s business,” said Tran on his victory. “Nothing’s changed from my first day in office. I’m just so thankful for the opportunity and I thank God.”

Tran thanked his supporters, hopeful he can, in his words, put “Milpitas families first.”

“I don’t think there has a day that has gone by where I haven’t given my heart and soul to the residents of Milpitas. I think tonight, I attribute this result to four years of hard work.”

He spoke fondly of his opponent, Voltaire Montemayor, whose son is a childhood friend of the mayor. “I love the Montemayors with all my heart.”

12:35 a.m.

The Beat spoke with Voltaire Montemayor, Tran’s longshot opponent in the mayoral race. He congratulated the mayor on his third victory, conceded the race and hinted that this time around could be his final campaign for mayor.

“I thought I would have gotten more votes, but that didn’t happen,” Montemayor told the Beat.

Montemayor said his family and Tran remain good friends, and he’s looking forward to working with the mayor and the city council during Tran’s third term.

On his future plans for political office: “I begged my family for this last one, this last chance, I think I’ll stop [running] for mayor of Milpitas,” he said.

Montemayor joked, “Maybe I’ll run for governor.”

12:15 a.m.

It’s now Wednesday morning, and the county has released its final counts for the night. Here are key races we’re following

Mayoral race

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Click to enlarge.

We’re joining other local news outlets in calling the race for mayor a victory for incumbent Rich Tran. Tran, 35, was never in danger of losing the lead Tuesday night, topping his opponent, retired geologist and community volunteer Voltaire Montemayor, by over 50 points. With the victory, the mayor has won two more years at the helm of the city council. Should his endorsed candidate Evelyn Chua hold on to her narrow lead, it will give him an added boost toward a three-vote majority on the council.

The landslide is Tran’s largest victory ever.

City council

The race remains static, as incumbent Councilmember Anthony Phan and Planning Commissioner Evelyn Chua hold onto narrow leads.

County supervisor

Former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee continues to hold a 20-point lead over Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the race to replace County Supervisor Dave Cortese.

Assembly, District 25

Democratic policy advisor Alex Lee continues to lead big over Republican Bob Brunton.

Measure F, Milpitas

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Click to enlarge.

Measure F, the city-backed quarter-cent sales tax hike, is set to pass.

The county has shuttered updates until 9 a.m., and so will we. We’ll have the latest updates then.

11:45 p.m.

Mayor Rich Tran has been silent on social media for most of the night. But he broke his silence just a few minutes ago on Facebook at his watch party inside Crawdaddy restaurant. Tran hosted a watch party there, where he declared victory in 2016 and 2018.

11:10 p.m.

Measure F

Measure F, the city’s proposed quarter-cent sales tax hike, continues to hold a healthy lead in the “yes” column.

Mayoral race

Tran continues to hold a big lead over his opponent, retired geologist Voltaire Montemayor.

City council race

Chua’s hold on the second spot in the city council race has narrowed a bit, but she still remains more than two points ahead of Vice Mayor Bob Nunez. Phan continues to lead the field, but his lead has narrowed to less than a percentage point. The top two vote-getters will win city council seats.

Assembly race

Policy advisor Alex Lee, a Democrat, continues to hold a massive lead over Republican candidate Bob Brunton in the District 25 Assembly race. Lee has won approximately 74 percent of the vote with around 72,000 ballots counted. Should he hold his lead, Lee, 25, will become the first Milpitas High School graduate to represent the district.

11:00 p.m.

City council race

The Beat spoke with Planning Commissioner Evelyn Chua, who is holding on to a narrow lead for a council seat based on early returns. She told the Beat she is holding a joint election night party at seafood restaurant Crawdaddy with Tran, and was feeling “emotional” about her early lead.

“I really just want to serve,” Chua said in an interview with the Beat, after thanking her supporters. “I just want to do something good. I think I can do that for Milpitas. I’ve met a lot of people during this campaign, and their concerns are my concerns.”

Chua last ran for city council in 2016, where she came in third to now-incumbents Anthony Phan and Bob Nunez. Should Chua hold her lead, she will win a city council seat.

More on Chua’s campaign here.

Supervisors race

The Beat spoke with county supervisor candidate Otto Lee, who is leading in his race against Kansen Chu. Lee, while optimistic about his lead, remained cautious.

“We really have a strong team here that has worked so hard,” Lee said.

Lee came in second to Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) in the March primary. Since then the two have traded barbs on social media. In October, Lee loaned $460,000 to his own campaign, leading Chu to demand Lee release his income taxes. Chu meanwhile has been the subject of a campaign finance investigation.

Earlier in the summer, Lee accused Chu of racially insensitive remarks concerning Chu’s Latinx constituents. Chu has denied the claims.

“Campaign times, obviously opponents will say things to each other that are not necessarily the nicest. But at this point we’re grateful for the support.”

He added, “I do think Mr. Chu ran a good race, and I thank him for that. We look forward to working together to help our residents in the county to get through this COVID crisis.”

Lee won the endorsement of four of five Milpitas councilmembers. Only Tran endorsed Chu in this race.

More on Lee’s campaign here, and Chu’s campaign here.

10:00 p.m.

Numbers have remained steady in the mayor and city council races: Tran is still up big, while Phan and Chua hold slim leads.

Demetres Morris, who made the ballot as a write-in candidate, remains at the bottom of the vote total, far behind a second-place showing.

9:55 p.m.

Milpitas voters decided on 12 state propositions today. Some of them are close, but Proposition 23, the proposition that would require dialysis centers in the state to have a physician on-site at all times would require centers to report infection data to the state, is down big.

9:18 p.m.

The city council-backed Measure F, a proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase to bolster the city’s emergency response services, is currently ahead by about 33 percentage points.

Measure F is expected to raise an estimated $6.5 million over eight years for police, fire and other city services. The city says the revenue is needed to help combat budget cuts the city is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But opponents of the measure claim that the measure will disproportionately affect lower-income residents who have already been burdened by the pandemic.

9:00 p.m.

Another round of updates are coming in, and here’s what they look like:

Milpitas mayor

Tran continues to hold an almost insurmountable lead.

Milpitas city council

Phan and Chua continue to hold slim leads. Incumbent Councilmember Bob Nunez is currently on the outside looking in, trailing Chua for second place by less than 2.5 points. Vuong and Hilario currently round out the top five. Business executive Suraj Viswanathan, Bob Marini and former Planning Commissioner Demetress Morris trail behind.

8:45 p.m.

The Beat spoke with Councilmember Anthony Phan, who is currently holding a slim lead in the city council race.

“Regardless of what the first-round results showed, I would have either way felt honored to have the distinct opportunity and privilege to serve the residents of Milpitas,” said Phan. “For me, that’s what I cherish the most.”

More on Phan’s campaign here.

8:45 p.m.

The Beat stopped by Alex Lee’s watch party for a bit, where he’s holding onto a big lead in the race to fill Kansen Chu’s Assembly seat.

“I’m really happy to be pushing progressive ideas,” said Lee.

8:25 p.m.

Assembly race

Legislative policy advisor and Democrat Alex Lee currently has a big lead over Republican candidate Bob Brunton by about 54 percentage points in Santa Clara County. Both candidates are gunning for the Assembly District 25 seat being vacated by incumbent Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose).

Should Lee be elected, he will be the first openly bisexual legislator in state history.

8:14 p.m.

County supervisor race

Former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee has jumped ahead early. He has a big lead over Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the District 3 Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors race. We’ll have more as the results continue to trickle in.

8:01 p.m.

Mayoral race

Results are beginning to trickle in, and as expected incumbent Mayor Rich Tran is leading big. He has around 68% of the vote with 0% of the precincts reporting.

Council race

Incumbent Councilmember Anthony Phan and Planning Commissioner are holding early leads, with around 19% each. Vice Mayor Bob Nuñez is in third with about 16.7% and Tiffany Vuong is in fourth with around 16%. Rounding out the top five is registered nurse Julian Hilario with around 11.8%.

8:00 p.m.

Polls have now closed in California. But if you’re reading this and still waiting to vote, don’t worry: You will be allowed to vote as long as you are in line at a voting center now.

We will have updates for all local races as soon as we get them.

7:45 p.m.

Incumbent councilmembers Bob Nuñez and Anthony Phan are looking to hold off six challengers for their seats. Should Tran win tonight, he is banking on a victory for Planning Commissioner Evelyn Chua for him to form a three-vote majority on the council. Tran has campaigned hard for Chua, and the commissioner has won key endorsements, including one from the Mercury News. Nuñez and Phan meanwhile have nabbed endorsements from former councilmembers, including former Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli. Nuñez has won endorsements from a majority of the Milpitas Unified school board and the Milpitas police union, among others. Phan meanwhile has won a wide spectrum of endorsements from officials and organizations on both sides of the labor and business factions of the South Bay. Other key endorsements have swung for community organizer Tiffany Vuong, who earned the endorsement of the county Democratic Party.

7:30 p.m.

Although only two candidates are still in the mayoral race, Milpitas voters saw three names on the ballot: incumbent Rich Tran, retired geologist and community volunteer Voltaire Montemayor and former Milpitas mayor and former county supervisor Pete McHugh. McHugh dropped out of the race in August, too late for the registrar of voters to take his name off the ballot.

Voters dissatisfied with Tran’s leadership saw the opportunity to vote for McHugh as a protest vote against the mayor. In a race that has trended for Tran since the summer, supporters are hoping for another landslide win like they got in 2018, while voters lukewarm to Tran are aiming for the incumbent mayor will come away with less than 50 percent of the vote in order to send a message.

As always, we’ll have the results at the top of the hour.

7:15 p.m.

We’re less than an hour away from polls closing in the county and state. If you still need a cheat sheet for Milpitas mayor and city council races, check out our election series.

6:30 p.m.

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

We’re 90 minutes away from polls closing in California. If you still need to vote or turn in your ballot, the Santa Clara Registrar of Voters has provided a list of voting centers here.

6:00 p.m.

As Milpitas heads into the home stretch of this election, the lines at our four voting centers might get a bit long. Not to worry: As long as you are in line by 8:00 p.m., you will be allowed to vote. The county will not allow anyone who is not in line by 8:00 p.m. to vote.

3:00 p.m.

Pioneer Mobile Home Park, one of the city’s four voting centers.

Lines are short and going smoothly at Pioneer Mobile Home Park, one of four voting centers within city limits. Pioneer is a senior living community, a demographic that often totals the highest turnout in presidential election years. No voting irregularities to report.

1:40 p.m.

Mayoral candidate Voltaire Montemayor addressed supporters early Tuesday afternoon, thanking them for their support. He spoke warmly of his opponent, Mayor Rich Tran, calling him “a family friend.”

“[Tran] is a classmate of my son,” Montemayor said. “He calls me ‘uncle.'”

He’s often said on the campaign trail that he enjoys singing, and took to Facebook to belt out “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

This is Montemayor’s third campaign for the mayoralty. He previously ran in 2016 and 2018, losing both times. He also fell short in a bid for a city council seat in 2014.

Read more about Tran’s campaign and Montemayor’s campaign.

1:25 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced another election night tradition off the table: The post-election celebration. Several candidates across the South Bay have instead made do with virtual watch parties, and you can join them at the links below. We’ll update the party list as soon as we hear more.

  • Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors candidate Otto Lee’s watch party starts at 7 p.m. You can RSVP here.
  • Assembly District 25 candidate Alex Lee’s watch party starts at 7:30 p.m. You can find the Zoom link here.

12:45 p.m.

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

We’ve already covered the record-breaking early voting numbers in the county earlier today, but how is Milpitas itself doing? Disaggregated data from the county registrar of voters and data firm Political Data, Inc. show that Milpitas voters are showing up big.

Source: Political Data, Inc. Click to enlarge

According to data collected from Oct. 5 until Monday, 63% of ballots sent out by the county had already been returned. 67% of registered Democrats have returned their ballots, while 64% of Republicans have done the same. Independents lagged behind with 58%.

The age breakdown is no surprise: 75% of voters aged 65 and older have voted, while only 53% of 18- to 34-year-olds have voted. Historically, older voters turn out to vote more than younger ones.

11:45 a.m.

Mayor Rich Tran updated his supporters today outside Omega Restaurant, where he’s delivered several addresses, including state of the city addresses in 2017 and 2018.

“It’s been an incredible journey these last few years, and I’m looking forward to another two years if that’s God’s plan. I’m very hopeful for tonight,” Tran said.

Tran is defending his seat today against retired geologist and community volunteer Voltaire Montemayor. The two have faced off before, most recently in 2018, where Tran beat out a field of five other candidates, including Montemayor, to win reelection.

If Tran comes out victorious tonight, it will be his third consecutive two-year term as mayor.

Read more about Tran’s campaign and Montemayor’s campaign.

11:00 a.m.

While the lines haven’t been as long as they have been in swing states like North Carolina and Wisconsin, there has been a steady stream of voters here at the Milpitas Library. The Beat spoke with Milpitas voter Martin Le, a Milpitian in his mid-20s who said he “voted very bipartisan.” He said he was driven to vote in part because he wanted to do his part to protect “the American way.”

“I was hoping to contribute more to the unity behind things,” Le said.

He added, “I’m a little bit scared for the livelihood of some immigrants. I want them to be more at peace. I also want our citizens here to be at peace too. I want a balance of things.”

10:15 a.m.

A view inside the Milpitas Library voting center.

We’re here at one of Milpitas’s voting centers at the Milpitas Public Library. Lines are going smoothly — and virtually nonexistent — and no voting irregularities have been reported. Voters have regularly been pulling up at the library’s drop off boxes to submit their ballots.

8:00 a.m.

After more than a year of campaigning and almost eight months of post-primary canvassing, Election Day is finally here in Milpitas. A record number of votes have already been cast across the nation, and more people are expected to queue at 99 vote centers across the county to fulfill their civic duty.

We here at the Beat will be on the ground intermittently throughout the day bringing you the latest election news around the city. Follow along on this live blog, along with our Facebook and Twitter accounts, to get the latest information on everything Election Day in Milpitas.

Milpitas has four vote centers within its city limits: The Milpitas Library, the Milpitas extension of the San Jose Evergreen Community College, the Pioneer Mobile Home Park clubhouse and John Sinnott Elementary School. To find the vote center nearest to you, click here. And if you’re not registered to vote or if you need to re-register, you can do so today at any voting center in the county. More details here.

Vote centers opened at 7 a.m. this morning and will close at 8 p.m. tonight. Ballots must be placed in drop boxes by 8 p.m. or postmarked by today to be counted. The county will accept ballots up to 17 days after Election Day as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 3.

According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, 56% of eligible voters have voted early — more than double the total of 2016. 71% of the total ballots sent out by the county have already been received.

Milpitas residents will cast their votes for everything from the presidency to the city council, a handful of county measures and 12 state propositions. Key local races include the mayor’s seat, two city council seats, one supervisor seat, the District 25 Assembly seat and a citywide quarter-cent sales tax hike. For information on all the races Milpitas will vote on, check out our election series.

We’ll update this space throughout the day — and late into the night if we have to. Send election-related tips here.

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Lloyd Alaban
Lloyd Alaban is a reporter who has lived in Milpitas his entire life. He has a BA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in Journalism & Mass Communications from San Jose State University. He has written for publications such as AsianWeek, realtor.com, Work+Money, SpareFoot, Uni Watch and San Jose Inside. Lloyd has covered numerous issues, including local businesses, protests, affordable housing policy, homelessness and city government. He is passionate about local news and its ability to shed light on underprivileged communities. In his spare time, he likes playing anything that has to do with trivia (especially watching Jeopardy!), running, drinking beer, reading, and playing with his Siberian Husky.

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