Don Perata concedes mayoral race, will not contest results
on November 11, 2010
At a Thursday morning press conference, former state senator Don Perata conceded defeat in the race for Oakland mayor, saying that he was disappointed with the outcome of Oakland’s first ranked-choice election but would not contest the results.
Perata gave the press conference from a podium in front of the Oakland Police Department’s Eastmont substation. Though Perata campaign organizers handed out fact sheets to reporters that claimed there had been voter confusion over Oakland’s inaugural ranked-choice voting experience, Perata said he believed it was a fair election. “The results are pretty clear,” Perata said. “I have no quarrel with the way the election was conducted.”
Under the rules of ranked-choice voting, voters rank their top three choices for mayor on the ballot. First-choice votes are tallied, and if no candidate receives a majority—more than 50 percent of the vote—then the last-place candidate is eliminated. The ballots that ranked an eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their second choice counted instead. The process continues until one candidate reaches a majority and officially wins the election.
Though Perata led in first-choice votes after Election Day by a wide margin, city council member Jean Quan vaulted to the lead after the second and third-choice votes were redistributed. Perata said he was proud to have the support of the plurality of Oakland voters that selected him as their first-choice. “It’s an honor and a privilege to have received the most first-choice votes in this election,” Perata said.
Perata said that he had not yet called mayor-elect Jean Quan to offer congratulations, but said that he would do so in the future.
The long-awaited announcement of a winner in Oakland’s mayoral race came on Wednesday night after the Alameda County Registrar of Voters updated its totals to include previously uncounted provisional ballots. The revised totals showed city council member Jean Quan in the lead with 50.98 percent of votes to Perata’s 49.02 percent. 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.”
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.”
On Thursday morning, Perata said that he would not initiate a recount, praising Macdonald and his staff for delivering a timely and accurate result. “[Macdonald] seemed to go out of his way to make sure no stone was left unturned, no chad was left hanging,” Perata said, referring to the ballot confusion that spurred the recount in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
Perata said that he has no plans to run for office again. He expressed an interest in staying active in Oakland politics in the future, lending his help to Quan or governor-elect Jerry Brown should they request it. For now, he said, he’ll remain an Oaklander. “I will step back into the role of citizen to do whatever I can do to make this city a better place,” Perata said. “It’s a great city and it deserves the best. I wish it well.”
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