Tech-focused lawmaker launches campaign for Silicon Valley House seat

California Assemblymember Evan Low launched his run Tuesday to represent wide swaths of Silicon Valley in Congress, offering himself as a new generation of leader with close ties to law enforcement and unveiling some big early endorsements to bolster his status in a competitive primary for the highly coveted blue seat.

“We need fighters and the Republican Party has been the party of Trump and I have been a fighter,” Low said in an interview with POLITICO ahead of the announcement. “And given that we have the most homophobic speaker in generations, the best way to combat that is to send more openly LGBT individuals to Congress.

Low leaned into his support from law enforcement and his work on tech issues, including chairing a caucus to advocate for one of California’s signature industries. His endorsements include a progressive stalwart from a neighboring district, Rep. Ro Khanna, as well as California Democratic Reps. Judy Chu and Mark Takano.

Low, previously served as mayor of the city of Campbell, becoming the youngest Asian American and youngest LGBTQ+ mayor in the country in 2009. His father was president of a local chamber of commerce and his brother is a police officer in San Jose.

After moving to the state Legislature, the five-term lawmaker established himself as a prominent voice on LGBTQ+ rights, violence against Asian Americans and tech industry issues. But his ambition to be Assembly speaker put him at odds with leaders in the chamber; in 2021, then-Speaker Anthony Rendon stripped him of a committee chairmanship, an unusually public rebuke for his behind-the-scenes politicking.

Low, 40, will likely make his youth, as well as his Chinese American background, a selling point of his campaign. A quarter of the district’s eligible voters are Asian American.

“It’s important and personal to me to continue the legacy of those that have come before me, like Norman Minetta and Mike Honda — two individuals who were in internment camps themselves, icons in our community,” he said.

He joins a burgeoning field of Democratic hopefuls eager for a shot at the solidly blue Bay Area district.

Santa Clara Supervisor Joe Simitian has had a federal campaign account open since January, giving him a sizable fundraising headstart with nearly $700,000 on hand as of the end of September. Low projected confidence that he’d be able to catch up quickly, pointing to his deep donor base with tech executives and national LGBT advocacy groups.

Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who previously considered taking on Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren in a neighboring Silicon Valley district, jumped in soon after Eshoo’s announcement.

State Sen. Josh Becker is also considering a run, while Low’s colleague in the Assembly, Palo Alto Democrat Marc Berman, has ruled it out.

Low leaned into his support from law enforcement and his work on tech issues, including chairing a caucus to advocate for one of California’s signature industries.  

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