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Santa Clara County DA faces first election challenge and it's from one of his public defenders

Santa Clara County DA faces first election challenge and it's from one of his public defenders
Photo Credit: Jeff Rosen/Sajid Khan
By Wesley Severson - Published on July 14, 2021.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, a three-term incumbent, will face his first opponent in the upcoming 2022 election. It’s Rosen’s first re-election test since he took office; he hasn’t had to face an opponent since he gained the top prosecutor seat in 2010. Rosen made the official announcement about his re-election campaign last week.

Rosen will face off against Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan, who announced his official 2022 District Attorney campaign on Sunday. Khan held a rally at Ryland Park in San Jose to make the announcement. Khan has been at the forefront of several social issues in Santa Clara County after the death of George Floyd, like removing armed police officers from schools, and more accountability after deadly officer-involved shootings.

“I’m running for District Attorney to tell the truth about, and undo, systemic racism that runs in our county and mass incarceration in all its forms,” Khan said in an interview with the Mercury News. “As District Attorney, I will honor victims of crimes, hold police accountable when they violate the law, tell the truth about and undo systemic racism, manifest Black Lives Matter, and bring our criminal legal system in line with basic notions of justice and humanity,” said Khan.

Khan was born in San Jose and went to San Jose High School before heading to UC Berkeley, then to Hastings Law School in San Francisco. He has served as deputy public defender since 2008. “For the last 13 years, I have been a public defender serving our community, fighting against mass incarceration, and standing up for our constitutional rights, the humanity of our people, and for values of compassion and redemption,” Khan said in a statement posted by San Jose Inside.

Khan faces a tough battle against Rosen who has the support of over 60 elected officials along with hundreds of law enforcement and community leaders in the Bay Area. “I’m proud that over the last decade my team and I have crafted a national model that proves criminal justice reform walks shoulder-to-shoulder with public safety. There’s more to be done and we’re determined to do it. Together with our community, we are bending the arc,” Rosen said in a statement

Rosen already has a substantial lead in fundraising at the start of the race. According to San Jose Inside, the San Jose Police Officers' Association already has a website and is already running advertisements in a campaign against Khan that spotlights his desire to defund police departments. We should start seeing this race heat up over the next several months.