Councilman files to run for Congress

This story was first printed Dec. 21 in the Daily Post. To keep up with all of the local news, pick up the Post in the morning at 1,000 mid-Peninsula locations.

BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor

Greg Tanaka, who was re-elected to Palo Alto City Council just last month, has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to run for the seat in Congress that Anna Eshoo has held since for 27 years.

Both Tanaka, 46, and Eshoo, 78, are Democrats.

Eshoo has not said she’s planning to retire. She was re-elected in November with 63.2% of the vote, defeating fellow Democrat Rishi Kumar, a Saratoga City Councilman.

Tanaka could not be reached for comment.

On the form he filed Friday (Dec. 18), Tanaka listed Bulgarian immigrant and businessman Bobby Borisov of Fontana, Calif., as his campaign manager, treasurer and custodian of records.

A biography of Borisov in the Dhaka, Bangladesh newspaper The Daily Star describes him as an entrepreneur who came to America pursue the American Dream. He got started flipping houses and then transitioned to e-commerce, specializing in home furnishings and beauty products.

On the federal election form, Tanaka said the address of his campaign committee is 13596 Hatcher Place, Fontana, CA, 92336 — the same address as Borisov’s business office.

On Saturday (Dec. 19), somebody registered the domain name tanakaforcongress.com. The identity of the domain’s owner wasn’t available.

Fundraising

It also wasn’t known how serious Tanaka is about running for Congress. In his re-election campaign, he raised over $90,000, making him the top fundraiser in the 10-candidate race.

Eshoo raised $2.1 million during the 2019-20 election cycle, according to the nonpartisan election data site OpenSecrets.org. She’s ending the year with $610,284 cash in the bank.

If she retires, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, 67, has been seen as her heir apparent in Democratic Party circles. Simitian has served as a Palo Alto school board member, Palo Alto city councilman and mayor, state Assemblyman and Senator, and county supervisor.

On City Council, Tanaka has been a part of the pro-growth, pro-housing bloc along with Adrian Fine, Liz Kniss and Alison Cormack.

The other faction on council, the slow-growth contingent, won a majority of seats in the Nov. 3 election.

In that election, Tanaka came in third in a 10-candidate field, winning one of the four seats available. Pat Burt was first with 14,353 votes, followed by incumbent Lydia Kou with 13,424, and Tanaka in third with 12,920. Greer Stone won the fourth seat available with 12,005 votes.

Tanaka led the pack in fundraising, collecting $90,639. That compares to $67,373 for Kou and $53,976 for Burt. However, Tanaka drew criticism from the slow-growth bloc because many of his donors were in the real estate and development industries.

A fiscal hawk

On council, Tanaka has been critical of city programs he says waste money. In May, when the council was forced to cut the city budget because of declining sales and hotel tax revenues due to the pandemic, Tanaka proposed a 17% pay cut for all city workers. His proposal was met with an awkward silence. None of the six other council members would second his motion.

7 Comments

  1. What party would he be in? Being concerned about spending was something the Republicans championed before Trump. I don’t think a “fiscal conservative” can win in our community.

    • California’s top-two open primary election gives Tanaka a chance. A Democrat who is pro-business can proceed from the primary and win the general election with support from Independents and Republicans. It all depends on how left-wing the other Democratic candidates will be.

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