As we get closer to Election Day, candidates are putting in their last efforts toward convincing Milpitas residents why they deserve their vote.
October 22 was the deadline for candidates to file their last Campaign Disclosure Statements before November 8. The Beat studied statements across all Mayoral and City Council candidates to give readers a breakdown of monetary contributions, as well as independent expenditures from Political Action Committees (PACs).
Here’s what we found…
City Council Race
Milpitas’ City Council has six candidates running for two seats. Of all six candidates, Hon Lien, who is currently a Board Member on the Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) Board of Education, has raised the most, taking in a total of $16,904 in monetary contributions. In addition to that amount, Lien also made a $5,800 loan to her campaign, bringing her total contributions to $22,704.
Other City Council candidates received the following contributions:
Milpitas Chamber of Commerce Board Member Juliette Gomez reported receiving total contributions of $6,250 on her statement, and gave her campaign a loan of $109.13.
Attorney Garry Barbadillo, who served as a Milpitas City Councilmember from 2014-2018, received a total of $5,844 in contributions, and made a loan to himself in the amount of $2,500.
Current MUSD Board Trustee Michael Tsai received $100 in contributions, and gave his campaign a loan of $1,234.
Milpitas Planning Commissioner Dipak Awasthi received a total of $8,362.07 in contributions, and gave his campaign a loan of $6,000.
Isaac Stringer, a newcomer to Milpitas politics, recently informed The Beat that he was dropping out of the race. He did not file a final report, and in a previous report, did not put down any monetary contributions. Demetress Morris, a former Milpitas Planning Commissioner, also did not file any contributions.
In the Milpitas Mayoral race, six candidates are vying for the Council’s top spot. Vice Mayor Carmen Montano leads the pack when it comes to monetary contributions received. As reported on her last Campaign Disclosure Statement, she took in a total of $43,177. Montano has also made two loans to her campaign, totaling $3,000. So far, Montano’s expenditures total $36,864.
Coming in second in money raised is Councilmember Karina Dominguez, who reported receiving $15,649.64 in contributions. She also made a $4,000 loan to herself during the period between 7/1/22 and 9/24/22. Dominguez reported $15,345.84 in total expenditures.
Councilmember Anthony Phan has received a total of $5,800 in donations, and has not reported making any loans to his campaign. Phan hasn’t reported any expenditures.
Business Owner Dr. Ola Hassan reported receiving $2,100 in donations, along with providing his campaign a loan of $8,500. Hassan has reported that $9,000 of those dollars have been spent.
Retired Geologist Voltaire Montemayor reported receiving $1,150 in donations, and receiving various loans totaling $17,625.16. Montemayor reported expenditures of $18,076.82
And Mobile Home Expert Franco Perez has made no filings.
Independent Expenditures and Political Action Committees (PACs)
Political Action Committees (PACs) are entities that form specifically to raise funds to support or go against certain candidates. PACs are usually made up of businesses, corporations, labor unions, or other groups. By law, they cannot plan, coordinate, or organize with any candidates directly. When PACs spend the funds they’ve raised, these are known as “independent expenditures.”
In Milpitas, a couple of PACs appear to be active and in support of two Mayoral candidates.
Records show that the Silicon Valley Biz PAC has spent a total of $36,845.85 on mailers and text messages in support of Councilmember Phan’s Mayoral campaign. On their website, Silicon Valley Biz PAC describes themselves as “the only Silicon Valley-based action committee focused exclusively on improving the business climate for small and medium enterprises.” They came under fire this week when the Vietnamese American Roundtable and other organizations held a press conference to call the Silicon Valley Biz PAC out for sending out “racist mailers targeting Asian Americans” in an attack ad against San Jose Mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez.
The Silicon Valley Biz PAC has been funded by entities like the Healthy Economy PAC and Associated Builders and Contractors Northern CA Chapter PAC.
Another independent expenditure was made by a group known as Working Families for Responsible Leadership in Milpitas Supporting Carmen Montano for Mayor 2022. This one is backed by entities such as the Laborers Local Union 270 PAC and United Public Employees of California Local 791; they’ve raised $7,499 to support Montano. However, they only reported spending $2,700 of the money raised, which went primarily toward internal consulting fees.
When the results come in on November 8, we’ll see what impact, if any, the amount of fundraising and PAC support might have had on a given candidate’s campaign. The Beat will be reporting live on Election Night to give you all the latest info.