Sylvia Arenas

In Santa Clara County Supervisor District 1, San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas led on Election Day, and never looked back.

On the eighth day of ballot counting, Arenas cemented her victory, roaring to a more than 9,000-vote lead over former council member Johnny Khamis, with just 11,000 votes remaining to be counted.

The victory by Arenas, a solid progressive with the support of organized labor and the Democratic Party, will mark a big shift in the political alignment on the Board of Supervisors, because she replaces a termed-out Mike Wasserman, a Republican moderate. The district tilted south and east in the realignment that followed the 2020 census, which shifted affluent, moderate Los Gatos out of the district.

On Election Day, Arenas held a  3,135-vote lead  in the Board of Supervisors’ only contested seat. The Tuesday evening totals showed Arenas had nearly tripled that margin, with 56,922 votes (54.31%) compared to 47,894 votes (45.69%) for Khamis.

In a hard-fought five-person District 1 primary in June, Arenas was the top vote getter, with fewer than 1,500 votes ahead of Khamis.

The other open board seat this year, in District 4, Supervisor Susan Ellenberg retains her seat because she was unopposed.

On the San Jose City Council, Arenas represents District 8, East San Jose/Evergreen and is a former school board member for the Evergreen Elementary School District.

Khamis is a former city council member, representing District 10 in southwest San Jose, and came in a distant 5th in the primary for the California State Senate’s 15th District. He is a former Republican who changed to No Party Preference during the presidency of Donald Trump.

District 1 includes portions of San Jose and the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

This story originally appeared on

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