Jean Quan to be next mayor of Oakland
OAKLAND — Jean Quan appears to have won her bid to become the next mayor of Oakland, according to semiofficial final results from last Tuesday’s election released Wednesday evening by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
“This is really a victory for a grassroots effort in this city,” Quan told reporters at a press conference following news of the results. “And we’re very proud.”
She received 50.98 percent of the vote, beating former state senate president pro tem Don Perata, who garnered 49.02 percent of the vote, according to the Registrar of Voters. In hard numbers, that’s 53,778 votes for Quan compared to Perata’s 51,720 votes.
Quan, a current city councilmember, will become Oakland’s first female and first Asian American mayor, replacing outgoing mayor Ron Dellums. The election was also the city’s first conducted under ranked-choice voting, in which voters were able to select their first, second and third choices in a crowded field of 10 candidates.
Results released on election night, November 2, showed Perata, viewed by many as the pre-election front-runner, with 35.13 percent of first-choice votes — a formidable lead over Quan, his nearest competitor, who held 24.3 percent.
Because Perata fell below the majority needed for an outright victory, ranked-choice calculations were run November 5, using an algorithm that eliminated the candidates who received the fewest first-choice votes. Voters who chose those candidates had their second and third choices counted instead.
“David has beaten Goliath,” Quan said in a news release. “We have shown that old-fashioned grass roots organizing and hard, honest campaigning can overcome big money, machine politics.”
It took Quan ten rounds to win a majority, after third-place finisher councilmember Rebecca Kaplan was eliminated and she won a majority of second-choice votes from Kaplan’s supporters. Kaplan fell about 2,300 votes short of catching Quan before she was cut.
The Registrar of Voters had said updated results would be released Monday, but then said it needed more time to count mail-in ballots. The agency updated in ranked-choice voting results for Oakland mayor and other races Thursday evening, telling reporters that though the results have not been finalized, it does not expect the outcome for the city’s mayoral race to be altered.
Quan said Wednesday that her priorities as mayor will be “public safety, jobs and helping young people.” She said she plans on including Perata supporters on her transition team.
Perata is expected to hold a news conference tomorrow, November 11.
On election night Perata told a reporter with KTVU Television that he did not understand how ranked-choice voting worked. On Friday his campaign released a statement that also expressed his confusion with the process. “It appears that there might be a reversal of fortune,” the statement read. “We’re unclear about Alameda County’s processes and await a final and accurate count. The mystery of ranked-choice voting continues.”
Vanessa Guerra contributed to this report. Contact the Beat at firstname.lastname@example.org.