Five candidates to replace Laurie Smith gather for the first time this week to make their case to voters.

SANTA CLARA — A two-month race to become Santa Clara County’s next sheriff began in earnest this week when the five registered candidates assembled as a group for the first time to give voters their pitch for why they should head the county’s largest law-enforcement agency.

At the American Legion Hall in Santa Clara on Tuesday, the Silicon Valley Public Accountability Foundation hosted sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Allen, businesswoman Anh Colton, sheriff’s Sgt. Christine Nagaye, retired sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Jensen, and Palo Alto Police Chief Bob Jonsen.

In the past month, their candidacies got a boost ahead of the June primary when six-term Sheriff Laurie Smith announced she was not running for another term, citing a number of active corruption investigations into her office that she has characterized as politically driven.

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