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Quan wins

Breaking: Jean Quan is Oakland’s new mayor

on November 10, 2010

City council member Jean Quan has become Oakland’s newest mayor, according to a provisional announcement made by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Wednesday evening.

After the official count ended, Quan received 50.98 percent of the vote, beating former state senator Don Perata, who garnered only 49.02 percent.

“We’d like to thank everyone,” Quan said at a press conference immediately following the registrar’s announcement. “It’s been a long way for Oakland and it’s been a long way for many people … This is really a victory for grassroots effort in this city.”

Quan took the podium in front of city hall to supporters’ chants of her campaign slogan, “block by block.” She thanked Oakland voters and spoke about her priorities as Oakland’s next mayor. Quan said she will use the weeks before she takes office to organize her agenda, with “crime, jobs and young people” as her top priorities.  Campaign organizers planned a Friday party at the King of King restaurant in East Oakland in celebration of Quan’s victory. When Quan takes office on January 3, she will be Oakland’s first female and first Asian American mayor.

According to the registrar’s office, Quan holds a lead of 2,058 votes over Perata, and though the result is not yet certified, Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald said that the remaining outstanding ballots are “not enough to change the outcome.”

Don Perata will hold a press conference tomorrow at the Eastmont Mall at 10 am. “We are analyzing the results, which Senator Perata will address at the press conference tomorrow,” said campaign spokesman Rhys Williams in a statement emailed to press.

“I congratulate Mayor-elect Jean Quan on her victory,” read a press release from councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign. “She ran a tremendous grass roots campaign and reached thousands of voters block-by-block. I look forward to working with Jean to create jobs and make our streets safer by working to restore community policing.”

“I will continue to represent all Oaklanders on the City Council, and I will launch new initiatives to promote job creation, public safety and governmental reform,” Kaplan’s release continued. “My campaign has shown that we can introduce innovative ideas to a debate on the future of our city in a positive and uplifting way.” The Kaplan campaign is planning a volunteer appreciation party on Thursday, November 18, from 6-8 p.m. at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th Street.

Oakland voters have been anticipating a complete tally for over a week.  Results released on election night, Tuesday November 2, included only voters’ first-choice candidates.  In this preliminary count, Perata was shown leading with 35.13 percent of the vote over Quan’s 24.64 percent. Ranked-choice calculations were run on Friday, November 5, using an algorithm that procedurally eliminated the candidates who received the fewest first-choice votes, counting their second and third choices instead.  After the computation was run, Quan surged into a slight lead over Perata, with 51.09 percent of votes to his 48.91 percent. At that point, 15,000 mail-in ballots from throughout the county remained uncounted, and it was unclear how many of those voters had cast votes in the Oakland mayoral race.

A final result had been expected Monday afternoon—Quan scheduled a press conference in anticipation of the news—but the registrar announced that it would require additional time to count several thousand provisional ballots, those of voters whose eligibility required further verification from the registrar.

After Wednesday’s final tally, Macdonald said that the last step for the election is the result’s official authorization later this month.  Despite the closeness of the vote, there will be no automatic recount. “In California, there is no provision for an automatic recount,” Macdonald said. “Of course, anybody can request it.”

A recount, conducted either by hand or electronically, can be requested by any voter and requires $5,000 upfront with an additional charge of $1,500 per day per team of ballot counters.

Quan commented on the closeness of the election, emphasizing that every vote counted in this year’s mayoral race. “If you win by one vote, you win,” Quan said.

Quan expressed a desire to reach out to supporters from her opponents’ camps, those that didn’t rank her in their top three choices. “We deserve a great future and we need everyone to make that happen,” she said.

Karmah Elmusa, Laura Hautala, Shirley Lau and Evan Wagstaff contributed to this article.

Check out all of our Oakland elections coverage on our Campaign 2010 page.

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Image: Quan prepares to speak at a press conference outside city hall Wednesday night after news broke at 6:00 pm that she had won the race for Oakland mayor. Photo by Shirley Lau.


  1. Tim Andersson on November 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Congratulations Mayor Quan.

  2. Felix on November 10, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Hooray for local leadership! Quan worked, in every part of this city, for every vote she got.

    This 10 AM press conference tomorrow doesn’t bode well though. Perata hasn’t congratulated Quan on her win, I notice. Is he planning shenanigans?

  3. Jim Ratliff on November 11, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Immediately after the announcement that Quan won, many people were robo-polled about whether they felt confused about RCV. There’s speculation that Perata is preparing a lawsuit (

    Perata’s camp has some crazy idea that the winner of first-choice votes should for some reason be the automatic winner. This ignores that, even before RCV, Oakland had a runoff system. The ultimate winner needs a MAJORITY not just a PLURALITY. Perata’s 34% of first-choice votes was not a majority.

    The results showed that 51% of Oakland voters preferred Quan to Perata—either (a) Quan was listed higher than Perata or (b) Quan was listed and Perata didn’t even appear. That is a majority and Quan as mayor is the correct democratic result.

  4. Stephen Liu on November 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Congratulations Ms. Quan.

    This is indeed a glorious moment for the Chinese community here in Oakland and elsewhere in the States.

    I wish you every success.

  5. jethromayham on November 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Congratulatiobns to the New Mayor Quan. It’s about time we have a ‘new’ Mayor not beholding to the same old politics. We the people of Oakland will support you in bringing good things to Oaklaqnd. Move Forward!

  6. […] Ranked choice voting allows voters to name their first, second, and third choice candidates on their ballot. If no candidate wins the majority of first place votes, the last place candidates are eliminated and their votes are redistributed to the candidates that voters listed second. The process is repeated until one candidate receives a majority of votes. In Oakland’s mayoral race, ten candidates ran and votes were redistributed in nine rounds of elimination. Second place candidate Don Perata held the lead until the votes for Kaplan, who was in third place, were redistributed in the final round to eventual winner Jean Quan. […]

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