Wieckowski aide Tim Orozco lost his San Jose
City Council race Tuesday despite $232,000 in
support from the South Bay AFL-CIO.

Orozco loses in San Jose; Fernandez failed in Hayward

STATE SENATE | DISTRICT 10 | Even with the pocket books of labor unions and big-name local endorsement, another of State Sen. Bob Wieckowski’s staff has failed in a bid for local office.

Tim Orozco is the second Wieckowski staffer to lose a city council race in the past year. Preliminary results in Orozco’s race for San Jose’s District Four City Council seat show him trailing Manh Nguyen by more than 13 points, or just under 1,300 votes.

In June 2014, another Wieckowski staff, Rocky Fernandez, failed to win one of two seats on the Hayward City Council. This came despite over $100,000 in contributions from an independent expenditure committee backed by SEIU Local 1021. The union was angered by the Hayward City Council’s decision to impose wage cuts on city worker. The committee also benefited another labor candidate, Sara Lamnin, who finished first.

Orozco’s defeat, however, is far more sobering for a labor movement in the Bay Area that can’t seem to get its act together. The defeat follows labor’s stinging defeat in State Senate District Seven to Steve Glazer.

The South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council spent $232,000 in support of Orozco and $16,000 opposing his opponent, who enjoyed more than $60,000 from the Silicon Valley ChamberPac, according to finance reports. Orozco’s own campaign account also raised over $84,000. But the overall campaign finance strength apparently did little to sway San Jose voters.

In fact, the San Jose City Council runoff Tuesday was shaded with some scandal. Nguyen was criticized for moving to the district shortly before filing for his candidacy. And later, it was reported Orozco had twice been arrested for DUIs in the past and lived with his mother. San Jose’s special election was triggered by Kansen Chu’s election last November to the State Assembly.

Fernandez’s campaign in Hayward last year did not involve any controversy, but similar to Orozco, the large expenditure by labor in his favor amounted to little progress in overturning the existing anti-worker tenor of the City Council. Fernandez finished a distant third and out of the running among seven candidates in the Hayward at-large race.

Call it the Curse of the Wieckowski?