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2020 Election SeriesMilpitas Mayoral race: Pete McHugh steps in

Milpitas Mayoral race: Pete McHugh steps in

This article is part of a series on figures who have declared their candidacy for Milpitas City Council or Mayor of Milpitas for November’s general election. The filing period for candidacy opened on July 13 and will close on August 7. Two City Council seats and the Mayor’s seat are up for grabs. The entire series can be found here.


In a Facebook post on July 26, Mayor Rich Tran made note of the absence of new mayoral challengers running against him in this year’s election. At the time, he was squaring off solely against retired geologist Voltaire Montemayor, whom he defeated, among others, in 2016. Tran wrote, “I’ve never had anything handed to me in my life, so I’m going to still go all out. Compete against myself if no one steps up to challenge me over these next two weeks.”

Enter Pete McHugh.

A Democrat, and a former 5-time Mayor of Milpitas, McHugh’s last mayoral term ended in 1996, before he moved on to serve on the Board of Supervisors. He’s lived here in town since 1973. For years, he worked for IBM’s regional accounting department. A proud husband, father of two, and grandfather of one, McHugh jokes, “I am retired and tired.”

But he’s only serious about the “retired” part. “My wife and I have agreed,” he explains, “that we just can’t cut the cord with Milpitas…Our ties are here. My children went to local schools.”

Asked about the incumbent Tran, McHugh says, “I’m not running against anybody. I am offering my experience. Since ‘73, I’m a known quantity.”

He officially began the candidate filing process last week, but didn’t confirm his candidacy with The Beat until this week–following a period of contemplation and consultation. Now he’s hit the ground running, and is thinking ahead to the future: “I think the next couple of years are going to be especially difficult as we try to come out of the pandemic. Between the impact, especially on retail, the whole thing’s been tossed up, and we’re trying to provide for financial assistance, but we can’t continue that. There are gonna be all sorts of attempts to come up with shortcuts. I think my 36 years of experience as an elected official will help me work with a team to help get us through.”

In addition, in a comedic nod to widespread speculation over President Donald Trump’s ultimate adherence to this year’s presidential election results, McHugh adds, “I am committed to the results of the election, whether I end up winning or not winning.”

Election Day is on November 3.


Running for: Mayor

Declared candidacy: August 2020



Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer and filmmaker. He has won awards for journalism (CA Journalism Award) and screenwriting (Fade In Award), and has served as a ghostwriter, speechwriter, or script doctor for over 3,000 clients. His first novel is a dark political thriller called "Red Dennis" (2020). His first nonfiction book is a guide for helping writers be more productive called "Ass Plus Seat" (2020). He co-hosts the "House of Mystery Radio Show" on NBC News Radio. In 2023, Eric founded the Psychic Arts Center, dedicated to exploring psychic phenomena and assisting people through psychic readings.


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