Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente was trounced in Tuesday's election by Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan by more than 20 percentage points. It was a landslide victory for Kaplan in the city's At-Large council race, and yet De La Fuente is still refusing to concede defeat — or to congratulate Kaplan for her hard-fought win. De La Fuente apparently is holding out hope that the ballots yet to be counted will provide him with a miracle come-from-behind victory. But such hopes are statistically impossible. In fact, this may be the first time in Oakland history that a candidate behind by 20 points is refusing to concede.
We had considered these races too close to call yesterday, but in light of the fact that the Alameda County Registrar's Office counted about 15,000 ballots yesterday and neither of these two contests budged, we have concluded that Measure A1, the Oakland Zoo tax, has been defeated and that longtime East Bay Congressman Pete Stark has lost reelection. Stark also conceded defeat yesterday afternoon to Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell.
Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said today that her victory last night, along with that of City Attorney Barbara Parker, proved that city residents were not happy with the intensely negative campaigns run by Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner. "The divisive and deceptive campaigns lost — and they lost by a big margin," she said. Indeed, they did. Kaplan beat De La Fuente, who attacked her relentlessly during the campaign with hit-piece mailers, by more than 20 percentage points. And Parker whipped Brunner by a staggering 35 points after Brunner had attacked Parker almost non-stop for the last few months.
Updated 1:15 p.m.: Alameda County Voter Registrar Dave MacDonald estimated today that at least 140,000 ballots must still be counted in the county. MacDonald estimated that about 100,000 of those were absentee ballots that voters dropped off at the polls yesterday. In addition, there are about 40,000 provisional ballots to be counted. Provisionals are ballots given to voters who show up to the wrong polling place.
The 140,000 or so uncounted ballots roughly dovetails with our earlier estimates. The last two general elections indicated that there were likely between 69,000 and 228,000 ballots left to count in Alameda County. And of those, between 24,000 and 41,000 were likely from Oakland.
As of early this morning, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters had counted 399,662 ballots countywide in this year's election. In 2010, there were 468,483 total ballots cast. And 2008, the last presidential election, there were 628,545 total votes cast in the county. The large difference between the total 2008 vote and the number of ballots counted so far in 2012 is one of the main reasons why we think it's still too early to call several races.
The total number of votes this year looks like it will be higher than in 2010, when there was no presidential contest. But it appears that this year's total count will be less than 2008, when Barack Obama first won the presidency.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates easily won reelection last night, trouncing his closest challenger, Councilman Kriss Worthington, by 34 percentage points. Candidate Jacquelyn McCormick finished a distant third, 44 points behind Bates. City Council incumbents Darryl Moore, Laurie Capitelli, and Max Anderson also won reelection, as did Councilwoman Susan Wengraf, who ran unopposed.
As we reported last night, Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan and City Attorney Barbara Parker won reelection, easily defeating Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner, respectively. Kaplan won by more than 20 percentage points in ranked-choice tabulations, while Parker won by a whopping 35 points. Longtime Councilman Larry Reid also won reelection in a landslide, defeating challenger Sheryl Walton by nearly 30 points in District 7, East Oakland.
Other city council winners included candidate Lynette Gibson-McElhaney in District 3, West Oakland-Downtown, and school board member Noel Gallo in council District 5, Fruitvale-Glenview. In ranked-choice voting tallies, Gibson-McElhaney defeated Sean Sullivan, 53.8 percent to 46.2 percent, and Gallo beat Mario Juarez 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent. The council District 1 race, North Oakland, is still too close call between Dan Kalb (52.2 percent) and Amy Lemley (47.8 percent), although Kalb's lead will be tough to overcome.
There are still several political contests in the East Bay, including the Oakland District 1 city council race, that are still too close to call, because there are still tens of thousands of ballots to count. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office plans to release an estimate later today on how many late absentee and provisional ballots that have not yet been tallied countywide. In 2010, the registrar had 122,000 total late absentees and provisionals that were counted after Election Day. And it's safe to assume that there are at least that many ballots this year, since 2012 is a presidential election. As a result, we'll be keeping a close eye on several East Bay races in the coming days.
Based on past elections, we consider any local race that is closer than 5 percentage points at this point to be still too close to call. For bigger races, such as countywide contests, anything closer than 8 percentage points is still to close to call.
Here are the following races that we think could change once all the late absentees and provisionals are counted (late absentees are those that voters dropped off at the polls yesterday and provisionals are ballots given to voters who showed up at the wrong precinct):
Updated at 6:55 a.m., November 7 (100% of precincts reporting)
City Council At-Large (First-place votes only)
Rebecca Kaplan: 45.6%
Ignacio De La Fuente: 29.8%
Carol Lee Tolbert: 15.4%
Theresa Anderson: 5.9%
Mick Storm: 3.1%
City Council At-Large (Ranked-choice voting, updated at 6:00 a.m.)
Rebecca Kaplan: 60.7%
Ignacio De La Fuente: 39.6%
The Express is calling the Oakland City Council At-Large race for incumbent Rebecca Kaplan. With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Kaplan has an insurmountable lead over challenger Ignacio De La Fuente, 45.5 percent to 30.5 percent. Kaplan holds an even larger lead in ranked-choice voting. Her victory means that progressives likely will gain control of the city council, and De La Fuente's loss could spell the end of his twenty-year career in Oakland politics.
The Express is calling the Oakland District 1 school board race for incumbent Jody London. London has an insurmountable lead with 77.1 percent of the vote over her challenger Thearse Pecot, who has just 26.1 percent.