Omar Torres is leading the District 3 city council race

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Omar Torres and Irene Smith appear to have pulled ahead from the other three challengers — Joanna Rauh, Ivan Torres and Elizabeth Chien-Hale in the open seat for District 3, replacing Councilmember Raul Peralez who terms out in December.

With 45% of precincts reporting by 8:05 p.m. June 7, Omar Torres leads has 40.7% of the vote, with 1,887 votes. Smith is coming in second with 20.01% of the vote, with 927 votes.

“I feel really confident that Omar will remain in the top two,” Diego Martinez, Torres’ campaign manager said.  “He was well known in the community. He’s been putting in work for over 20 years”

Chien-Hale 16.90% coming in third with 783  votes, Joanna Rauh has 15.70% of the vote with 727 votes and Ivan Torres has 6.65% of the vote with 308 votes.

“The only comment I have is holy cow,” Smith told “And I think we better just buckle up because I think it’s still early.”

District 3 encompasses neighborhoods from Vendome and Naglee Park to Japantown and Spartan Keyes. It’s also home to San Jose State University and several theaters and music halls. As the city’s center,  homelessness, blight and small business closures are glaringly visible.

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Rauh, 40, an attorney for the accounting firm Deloitte, leads the legal team’s pro bono and philanthropic work. Her focus is on solving what she says is District 3 and San Jose’s top issue: homelessness.

She is a Democrat who has received endorsements from Mayor Sam Liccardo, former Mayor Tom McEnery and the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. She has raised $108,444.

Omar Torres, 40, calls himself a pragmatic progressive and a lifelong Democrat who received support from the South Bay Labor Council, mayoral candidate and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party and other local progressives. He has raised $73, 021.

He has been part of the San Jose political scene for years, currently serving as a San Jose-Evergreen Community College District trustee, regional director in the California Democratic Party and the business resiliency manager of the San Jose Downtown Association. He was also Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco’s deputy chief of staff and had served in her office for seven years. He has raised $73,021.

Smith, 61, is an independent with the support of the Silicon Valley Business PAC, small businesses like Casa Vicki and Peanuts, and nonprofit Families & Homes SJ. Her priorities include adding to the police force, small business revitalization and homelessness. She supports sanctioned encampments and social housing  She has raised $97,467.

Chien-Hale, 60, is an intellectual property attorney who said her expertise in technology is an asset in solving city problems and bridging the private and public sectors. She is registered as No Party Preference. She did not provide names of endorsers, but said she has support from the Japantown business community and several Cupertino elected officials. She has raised $34,340.

Ivan Torres, 38, is a health care worker turned candidate after volunteering with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. Torres is a progressive who has received endorsements from Berniecrats, a volunteer-run organization to support progressive candidates. He has not listed any contributions.

Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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