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10 Steps to Run for Mayor in San Jose, California

2 min read
San Jose Politics Team · Nov 2, 2023

Deciding to run for Mayor is a significant move towards effecting tangible change in your community. But what does it take to launch a bid for office? This guide will escort you through the journey of campaigning for Mayor in San Jose, California, from the initial campaign preparations to the final push for votes.

Step #1: Understand the Role of Mayor 

The Mayor is the chief executive officer of the municipality. They often preside over council meetings and may have the power to hire and fire heads of municipal departments. Here are some more quick facts about the role of Mayor:

  • The Mayor is a city level elected official.

  • The Mayor is a nonpartisan elected position.

  • Being the Mayor counts as a Full Time job.

  • A typical salary for Mayor in San Jose is $130,203.87 / year.

Grasping these fundamental details about the office you aspire to run for is an excellent initial step to deciding whether you’re equipped to embark on this political journey.

You can also delve deeper into what serving as City Mayor involves by examining the actions of current and former officeholders. Reflect on these queries:

  • What have been their primary objectives?

  • How have they allocated their time while in office?

  • What contributions or changes have they brought about in San Jose?

Pondering these questions will help you visualize yourself in their role and shape your political aspirations.

Step #2: Meet the Qualifications to Run for Mayor 

It might seem straightforward, but confirming that you meet all the qualifications to run for City Mayor is crucial before announcing your candidacy.

Here are the main qualifications for running for Mayor in San Jose:

  • Candidates must be a U.S. citizen, a registered voter, and otherwise qualified to vote for that office at the time that nomination papers are issued to the person.

Step #3: Make an Election Timeline 

Another vital early step is to map out the electoral timeline for the City Mayor. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The City Mayor will be elected during the General Municipal Elections on November 5, 2024.

  • The City Mayor is typically elected every 2 years.

  • During the General Municipal Elections, other political positions will also be on the ballot.

For more intricate details on the election process for Mayor, visit your local government’s website or reach out to your local board of elections.

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Step #4: Listen to Your Community in San Jose 

Campaigning is akin to crafting a research paper; you wouldn’t commence writing before gathering your research, just as you wouldn’t formulate your campaign strategy before tuning in to your community. Taking time to research and listen to your community will provide you with insights that are beneficial both during the campaign and once in office.

Consider these questions about San Jose:

  • What is the demographic makeup of your community?

  • What is San Jose’s voting history?

  • What are the pressing issues facing San Jose?

If you need assistance at this stage, don’t fret, because’s AI Campaign Manager leverages detailed voter files to help you pinpoint the key issues for your campaign.

Step #5: Create a Campaign Plan to Run for Mayor 

After acquainting yourself with the electorate, it’s time to strategize. This involves assembling a campaign team and outlining your voter outreach strategy.

Step #6: Complete All Filing Requirements 

To run for San Jose Mayor, you must meet specific filing prerequisites:

  • Submit a Declaration of Candidacy and Nomination papers with all required signatures.

  • Submit a filing fee equal to 1% of the first year's salary as of the first day on which a candidate may circulate petitions in lieu of filing fees.

Here’s how to get started with the filing process:

  • Filing office address: 70 West Hedding Street 1st Floor, East Wing San Jose, CA 95110.

  • Filing office phone number: 408-299-5688

  • Where to submit candidate paperwork: Submit paperwork to the county clerk's office.

Moreover, you’ll need to manage all necessary documents for fundraising and financial tracking.'s AI Campaign Manager will guide you through campaign finance setup, including filing for an EIN with the IRS and opening a campaign bank account.

Step #7: Develop Strong Messaging for Your Mayoral Campaign 

Crafting compelling campaign messages is crucial. It clarifies your identity, motives, and goals to the electorate, enhancing your visibility.’s AI Campaign Manager is ideal for creating effective campaign messages. Utilize our AI tools to produce drafts for various campaign materials, which you can then personalize.

Step #8: Build a Strong Online Campaign Presence 

In today’s digital age, a robust online presence is essential for reaching voters in San Jose. This includes having an active campaign website, social media engagement, and media coverage.

Step #9: Engage in Voter Outreach and Volunteer Mobilization 

Effective voter outreach is vital. It ensures that the electorate is informed about who you are, what your platform is, and why they should choose you. Additionally, mobilizing volunteers can amplify your campaign’s reach.

Step #10: Get Out the Vote for the General Municipal Elections 

Maximizing voter turnout is crucial. Encourage all your supporters to vote in the General Municipal Elections, including those who may be voting for the first time.

Bonus: Step #11: Remember Why You’re Running for Mayor 

Throughout your campaign, it’s beneficial to recall your initial motivation for running. This can reignite your passion and drive you towards success.

Here are compelling reasons to run for Mayor:

  • Representing San Jose and addressing its needs.

  • Advocating for issues you’re passionate about.

  • Providing voters with more options.

  • Personal growth and community involvement.

Running for Mayor is a profound way to serve San Jose and foster a thriving democracy.

Resources to Help You Run for Mayor 

Ready to run for City Mayor? stands ready to support you from start to finish. We back independent and nonpartisan candidates nationwide. Connect with us to discover how’s complimentary tools and resources can propel your campaign for Mayor.

To become part of's growing community and connect with other independent candidates, you can also join's Discord server.

Photo by Mo on Unsplash

Planning a run for office?

Meet our team for a free consultation about launching your campaign
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How to Run for Office
San Jose
By Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.