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Mayor of the City of San Jose
Flag of San Jose, California.png
Flag of San Jose, California
Sam Liccardo (cropped).jpg
Sam Liccardo

since 2016
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Josiah Belden
Formation 1850
Website [1]

The Mayor of San Jose is the head of the government of the city of San Jose, California,the tenth-largest city in the United States. The mayor presides over the San Jose City Council, which is composed of 11 voting members, including the mayor. While the mayor is the head of the city council, he or she has no veto powers over legislation passed by the Council, as the city uses a council-manager form of government. The mayor serves a four-year term and is limited to two successive terms.

There are 65 people who have served as San Jose's mayor. The current mayor is Democrat Sam Liccardo, who took office in January 2015 and was elected with 50.76% of the popular vote.


Popularly elected mayors (1967-present)

Since 1967, San Jose has elected its mayors by a popular vote. Due to state laws regarding primary elections, political parties cannot nominate candidates for mayor, although candidates often choose to identify with a party. All registered candidates, regardless of party affiliation, compete in an vote held in June of the election year. If no person gets over 50% of the popular vote, the top two candidates automatically move to a runoff election.

All elected mayors of San Jose have been members of the Democratic Party. The first elected mayor was Ron James and the first female mayor was Janet Gray Hayes.

Josiah Belden
Josiah Belden, first mayor of San Jose
Sherman Otis Houghton, fourth mayor of San Jose
Norman Mineta, official portrait, DOT
Norman Y. Mineta, 59th mayor of San Jose
Ron Gonzales, 63rd mayor of San Jose
Chuck Reed hat
Chuck Reed, 64th mayor of San Jose
# Mayor Term start Term end   Party
58 James, RonRon James January 9, 1967 January 9, 1971 Democratic
59 Mineta, NormanNorman Mineta January 9, 1971 January 9, 1975 Democratic
60 Hayes, Janet GrayJanet Gray Hayes January 9, 1975 January 9, 1983 Democratic
61 McEnery, TomTom McEnery January 9, 1983 January 9, 1991 Democratic
62 Hammer, SusanSusan Hammer January 9, 1991 January 1, 1999 Democratic
63 Gonzales, RonRon Gonzales January 1, 1999 January 1, 2007 Democratic
64 Reed, ChuckChuck Reed January 1, 2007 January 1, 2015 Democratic
65 Liccardo, SamSam Liccardo January 1, 2015 incumbent Democratic

Council-elected mayors (1850-1967)

Before 1967, mayors of San Jose were nominated and elected by the San Jose City Council.

  1. Josiah Belden 1850–1851
  2. Thomas White 1851–1854
  3. O. H. Allen 1854–1855
  4. Sherman Otis Houghton 1855–1856
  5. Lawrence Archer 1856
  6. John M. Murphy 1856
  7. George Givens 1856–1857
  8. Ranson G. Moody 1857–1858
  9. Peter O. Minor 1858–1859
  10. Thomas Fallon 1859–1860
  11. Richard B. Buckner 1860–1861
  12. Joseph W. Johnson 1861–1863
  13. John Alonzo Quinby 1863–1868
  14. Mark Leavenworth 1868–1870
  15. Adolph Pfister 1870–1873
  16. Bernard D. Murphy 1873–1877
  17. George B. McKee 1877–1878
  18. Lawrence Archer 1878–1880
  19. Bernard D. Murphy 1880–1882
  20. Charles J. Martin 1882–1884
  21. Campbell Thompson Settle 1884–1886
  22. Charles W. Breyfogle 1886–1887
  23. Samuel Watson Boring 1887–1890
  24. Samuel N. Rucker 1890–1894
  25. Paul P. Austin 1894–1896
  26. Valentine Koch 1896–1898
  27. Charles J. Martin 1898–1902
  28. George D. Worswick 1902–1906
  29. Henry D. Mathews 1906–1908
  30. Charles W. Davison 1908–1910
  31. Thomas Monahan 1910–1914
  32. Fred R. Husted 1914–1916
  33. Elmer E. Chase 1916–1918 1
  34. Charles M. O'Brian 1918–1920
  35. Albert C. Jayet 1920–1922
  36. M. E. Arnerich 1922–1924
  37. Joseph T. Brooks 1924–1926
  38. Dan W. Gray 1926–1928
  39. Fred Doerr 1928–1930
  40. W. L. Biebrach 1930–1932
  41. A. M. Meyer 1932–1934
  42. Charles Bishop 1934–1936
  43. Richard French 1936–1938
  44. Clyde L. Fischer 1938–1940
  45. Harry Young 1940–1944
  46. Earl Campbell 1944–1945
  47. Ernest E. Renzel 1945–1946
  48. Albert J. Ruffo 1946–1948
  49. Fred Watson 1948–1950
  50. Clark L. Bradley 1950–1952
  51. Parker Hathaway 1952–1954
  52. George Starbird 1954–1956
  53. Robert Doerr 1956–1958
  54. Louis Solari 1958–1960
  55. Paul Moore 1960–1962
  56. Robert Welch 1962–1964
  57. Joseph L. Pace 1964–1967

Other offices held

Many mayors of San Jose have either served in other public offices or been influential in the private sector following their tenures. Norman Y. Mineta subsequently became a congressman, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Secretary of Transportation. After his terms, Tom McEnery has served on the Board of Directors of the San Jose Sharks and founded the Irish Innovation Center and Silicon Valley Global, two downtown-based groups that fund and house Silicon Valley startups.

The following is a list of statewide or federal public offices held by mayors before or after their term(s).

Mayor Mayoral term Other offices held
Houghton, Sherman OtisSherman Otis Houghton 1855–1856 U.S. Representative (1871-1875)
United States Mint Commissioner (1881)
Mineta, Norman Y.Norman Y. Mineta 1971-1975 U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2001-2006)
U.S. Secretary of Commerce (2000-2001)
U.S. Representative (1975-1995)
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