Low and Simitian tied for 2nd in House race

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday April 3, 2024
Share this Post:
Assemblymember Evan Low was tied for second place after San Mateo County's final count was released Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Courtesy the candidate<br>
Assemblymember Evan Low was tied for second place after San Mateo County's final count was released Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

After San Mateo County updated its vote count Wednesday, gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) are now tied for second place in their primary race for an open South Bay U.S. House seat. If that remains the case after county elections officials certify the outcome Thursday, both advance to the fall general election.

The pair would share the November 5 ballot with first-place finisher Sam Liccardo, the former mayor of San Jose. They are vying to succeed Congressmember Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto).

She decided to retire when her current term expires. Her House District 16 seat spans San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

The contest has remained undecided since voters went to the polls March 5. In recent days, Low had seesawed from being down either four or five votes behind Simitian to be stuck in third place.

But that changed Tuesday after another vote update from the two counties. Low had leapfrogged into second place by one vote. Santa Clara County reported being done with its count as of April 2.

With another update April 3 from San Mateo County after it had processed all of its remaining ballots, Low and Simitian found themselves tied at 30,249 votes each. Liccardo's total now stands at 38,489 votes.

According to the website FindLaw.com California's election code does not allow a tie vote in a primary to be determined "by lot." Instead, the general election race becomes a three-person contest.

"If only one candidate receives the highest number of votes cast but there is a tie vote among two or more candidates receiving the second highest number of votes cast, each of those second-place candidates shall be a candidate at the ensuing general election along with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast, regardless of whether there are more candidates at the general election than prescribed by this article," per the code.

Final certification of the primary vote in the two counties will come Thursday. Until then, or if the Associated Press calls the race, Low's campaign told the Bay Area Reporter it would have no comment.

Neither campaign has commented about the race in weeks. In a post on X in late March, Simitian had noted, "sometimes it takes a while for democracy to work. This is one of those times."

Low did refer to the election results in a tongue-and-cheek post on X Wednesday afternoon showing himself pictured in a suit and tie with the note, "It's a special 'Tie' day!"

Low is vying to become the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from the Bay Area. The state's current two Democratic gay congressional members, Mark Takano of Riverside and Robert Garcia of Long Beach, both represent Southern California districts and are expected to easily win reelection in November.

Democratic Lesbian U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler opted not to seek a full term this year. Appointed to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein last fall, Butler will step down shortly after the November 5 election. That general election race will feature Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff of Burbank against Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey.

Never miss a story! Keep up to date on the latest news, arts, politics, entertainment, and nightlife. Sign up for the Bay Area Reporter's free weekday email newsletter. You'll receive our newsletters and special offers from our community partners.

Support California's largest LGBTQ newsroom. Your one-time, monthly, or annual contribution advocates for LGBTQ communities. Amplify a trusted voice providing news, information, and cultural coverage to all members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay -- Donate today!