Incumbent Smith holds onto sheriff post

Sheriff set to begin sixth term in local office

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith won a sixth consecutive term in office after defeating challenger John Hirokawa in the Nov. 6 election.

With 100 percent of the votes counted, Smith obtained 147,319 ballots, compared to 113,655 votes for Hirokawa, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. That’s a margin of 56 percent for Smith, and about 44 percent for Hirokawa.

Tuesday’s contest for sheriff was a runoff from the June 5 primary, when neither Smith nor Hirokawa gained more than the 50 percent vote threshold needed to claim victory. Three other candidates participated in the June 5 sheriff’s election.

The 2018 campaign was the first political venture for Hirokawa, a retired Santa Clara County undersheriff who worked for Smith for many years.

The sheriff’s office has a staff of 1,800 sworn and non-sworn employees and an annual budget of about $308 million. The elected sheriff serves a term of four years.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office serves the communities of Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. The agency maintains contracts with the Valley Transportation Authority and the Santa Clara County Parks Department for law enforcement services. The Sheriff’s Office is also responsible for the safety and security of the Santa Clara County Superior Court system and all its staff. The Sheriff’s Office oversees the jail system for Santa Clara County, with more than 4,000 inmates.

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