Low to face Liccardo, Simitian loses Congressional bid

Long-time Palo Alto official Joe Simitian won’t be running for Congress this fall.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, has narrowly defeated Simitian, a Santa Clara County Supervisor and a Democrat, for the second spot on the November ballot.

Only the top two candidates among the 11 who were on the ballot March 5 will advance to the November election.

Low, who was heavily backed by PG&E, will face Sam Liccardo, former San Jose mayor who now teaches at Stanford law school.

A day after the March 5 primary, Simitian and Low each finished with 30,249 votes while Liccardo had 38,489 votes, well ahead of the other two candidates.

Simitian issued the following statement tonight:

    “The good news is the 16th congressional district’s long painful exercise counting the votes is over! The not-so-good news: we have come up short. I lost, and I concede. I trust the process, and I accept the result.”
    “I am disappointed, but not sad.”
    “I’m disappointed on a personal level because I had looked forward to running in November and serving in Congress. I’m disappointed because I couldn’t deliver a win for the oh-so-many folks who gave their time, effort, energy and resources to our campaign. And frankly, I’m disappointed because I won’t have the opportunity to bring a fresh take to our nation’s capital –– where we urgently need a renewed sense of purpose, and a commitment to maintaining and sustaining our democracy.”
    “That said, I am not sad. I have a wonderful life, a wonderful wife, and satisfying work to engage me at the county.”
    “I want to congratulate Assemblymember Evan Low and former Mayor Sam Liccardo. I have spoken to them both to wish them well. I look forward to the lively campaign they will undoubtedly run.”
    “I want to thank the volunteers who traveled two counties to help ‘cure’ uncounted ballots, and then monitored the recount over these past few weeks. In fact, I want to thank our entire campaign team, a team that gave its all.”
    “To all who supported me in this campaign for Congress, I am so grateful that you stood with me when I needed you. More grateful than I can say. Your generosity and persistence were extraordinary. It means a lot and it always will. Thank you.”
    “My confidence in our country’s ability to renew and improve itself is not dimmed. I know that I am privileged to hold public office and I will do my best to honor that trust, helping people and solving problems until my last day in office.”

Liccardo wasn’t as magnanimous in his press release after the recount:

    “Throughout the nearly two month long recount process, while Evan Low tried multiple times to undermine and stop the recount process, Liccardo steadfastly stood by the principle that every vote should be counted,” a news release from the Liccardo campaign read.

The release offered this quote from Liccardo:

    “I commend the diligent efforts of our election officials to provide an accurate vote count,” said Liccardo. “Despite the efforts of some to stop this recount, we should all celebrate that democracy prevailed. Previously uncounted votes were counted. We can now re-focus on our work ahead, toward solutions to our region’s and nation’s great challenges, such as homelessness, the high cost of living, climate change, public safety, and protecting reproductive rights.”

The result follows nearly a month of recounts.

With Simitian out of the race, Palo Alto and Northern Santa Clara County have lost their representation in the U.S. House.

San Jose is already represented by Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna and Jimmy Pinetta.

Liccardo, the front-runner, doesn’t live in the district, though he gets a paycheck from Stanford, which has fought with Simitian over its development plans.

Simitian will be forced off the county Board of Supervisors at the end of the year due to term limits.

Correction: An earlier version of this story has been changed to clarify a quote from Liccardo.


  1. How sad! Joe devoted his career to helping people in Palo Alto. And to think he lost to a couple of carpetbaggers! If Julie Lycthcott-Haines had never gotten in the race, Joe might have had the votes needed. Loony-tunes like her shouldn’t be allowed to run. If she has any class, she’d apologize. This is sad.

  2. It sure looked to me that San Jose powerbrokers wanted this seat and screwed Joe out of it. A friend of Liccardo pulls $300,000 out of his checkbook to pay for the recount? Who gave him that money? Does Liccardo think we’re all stupid?

  3. Smells bad indeed and obviously Liccaardo believes in the “finest” govt money can buy considering he raised more money than Joe and Low combined for his inescapable saturatiob ads.

    Is there any way to draft / convince Joe to run for governor?? We need him and his wisdom.

  4. Stanford got its revenge. Nuff said. Can’t wait for the megamansions to go up west of Junipero Serra. Who is going to stop them, Margaret Abe Koga? Don’t make me laugh.

  5. Stanford always gets its revenge. Last night when we had an visitor who commented on how crowded it’s gotten here since his last visit so we told him he was seeing the miracles of Stanford’s “no net new car trips” to justify any and all expansions and its claim that hundreds / thousands of new drivers have no effect.

    Odd how they can remove housing units from the city to for its ever expanding population but can’t add a single dwelling to Stanford Research Park.

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