Mystery candidate Karl Ryan emerges

Karl Ryan, a middle-aged white man in a blue polo shirt, stands outside.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Congressional candidate Karl Ryan hasn’t participated in any debates, raised any money for his campaign or done any interviews talking about his politics — until now.

Ryan, 60, of Los Gatos, sat down for an interview in Palo Alto last week to talk about being a Republican, his personal background and why his website was generated by AI, and included a photoshopped picture of him with his family. Ryan said that a friend created his campaign website and may have edited an old Christmas photo because Ryan was blinking in it.”It’s not like we’re trying to ‘AI’ this campaign,” Ryan said. “We’re trying to make good use of our time and get a website up.”

Ryan said he missed a forum with the League of Women Voters on Feb. 3 because he was on a scuba diving trip in Borneo. He said he is leaving for another vacation today with six days to go until the primary election.

“It’s a part-time thing,” Ryan said. “I’m doing this for fun if you can believe it — to say that I’ve done it … Better than sitting on my hands and doing absolutely nothing.”

Doesn’t trust the media

Ryan said he doesn’t trust the media, and that’s why he hasn’t done any interviews. He only agreed to come to Palo Alto after the Post mailed a letter to his house.

Ryan said he owns an auto shop in Santa Cruz. He grew up in Orange County and received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UC-Davis.

Ryan said he drove in President Ronald Reagan’s motorcade for the Davis College Republicans and that he still considers himself a “Reagan Republican.”

Ryan worked in the oil industry for a bit and then received a master’s degree in computer engineering from Santa Clara University.

He worked at Apple and then Check Point Software until his stock options took off, and he bought a house in Los Gatos in 2001, he said.

Ryan said he likes to fly planes in his free time. He is married and has two college-aged kids.

Border security and lowering taxes

Ryan said his priorities are border security and lowering taxes. If the United States doesn’t protect its borders, then terrorists could enter the country, Ryan said.

He believes the federal government should deal only with defense, and the states should decide everything else. Ryan said he supports the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the right to abortion.

The United States should fund Ukraine in its war against Russia, but only for their military and not anything else, like education, Ryan said.

Ryan called former President Trump a bully but said he will vote for Trump because of his approach to foreign policy and border security in his first term.

Ryan is a member of the Santa Clara County Republican Central Committee. He said he is one of the more conservative members, and he didn’t see anyone else volunteering to run after Congresswoman Anna Eshoo retired. 

Two of the 11 candidates are Republicans

The only other Republican in the race is former Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki, who is endorsed by the Santa Clara County Republican Party.

“Honestly I don’t know if I have much of a chance, because I realize in this country, a lot of it’s about how much money you have in the bank,” Ryan said. “A lot of times it takes someone more than one attempt to do it. It takes them the inertia of several runs to get them over the top.”

Ryan created a Facebook page in 2018 encouraging voters to “Write In Karl Ryan for Congress” after he missed the deadline to sign up for the ballot. 

This time around, he said he’s stuffing envelopes and sending emails.

Ryan said he has only met one candidate when he ran into former Saratoga Councilman Rishi Kumar at an elections office in San Jose. 

Opposes development

Ryan said he isn’t familiar with Palo Alto issues, but he imagines they are similar to those in Los Gatos, where he has opposed development. Ryan said he successfully fought plans to build 12 houses on four acres near his home, getting the developer to scale down to seven houses.

He also tried to prevent his neighbor from having a flat roof but was unsuccessful.

Ryan didn’t like when a homeowners’ association in Lake Tahoe said that he couldn’t do short-term rentals at his second home. 


  1. No mystery to me!! I support Karl Ryan, he is the best person to make a difference in Washington. We need more independently minded candidates, not the candidates with million dollar campaign budgets.

  2. Well we don’t need another Kamala or Biden who vacations more than they work. We look like a third world country here. Not the Bay Area I moved to forty years ago. It’s an embarrassment. Stanford needs to get off there rich butts and do a deep clean of their campuses and help the community more. Plus we need to get rid of all the liars around here.

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