With about a quarter of Oakland’s precincts counted, city council member and mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf was leading the mayoral race late Tuesday night. The early returns also showed support for a raise in the city’s minimum wage, and in tax measures designed to help schools and put money into crime prevention efforts.
In the mayor’s race, which will not report final results until the complex ranked-choice calculation is completed, reports at about 11 p.m. showed Schaaf leading the first-choice votes with 28 percent, followed by Quan at second place with 17 percent, and Kaplan and Tuman neck and neck. Kaplan, with 14.31 percent of the total votes, was barely above Tuman, with 14.09 percent.
Mayoral candidate Jason “Shake” Anderson, who attended Kaplan’s event at Everett & Jones BBQ, took a moment to reflect on how the ranked choice voting process affected the field of candidates. “I think it’s a great experiment that allows those who don’t have the budget to still have a voice in the political process,” he said.
In the East Peralta neighborhood, District 2 City Council candidate Dana King, a former news anchor at KPIX, and her campaign team continued to make last-minute calls to get voters to the polls. When the first numbers from the Registrar of Voters began to trickle in on the TV monitor, a cheer went out: King 38 percent, Guillen 33. “I’m just really hopeful for Oakland,” she said. “People who wanted change went out there and voted for it today.”
Meanwhile just down the street at La Estrellita restaurant, fellow District 2 candidate Abel Guillen, Peralta College’s board president, was shaking every hand and talking with supporters. “It’s going to be a long night, but I think we are right where we want to be,” Guillen said. “I’m going to be hitting the refresh button all night long.”
Measure Z, a parcel tax intended to raise money for public safety improvements, was winning with 75 percent; Measure N, another parcel tax for public schools, was also winning by a large measure, with 72 percent; and Measure FF, an ordinance to raise Oakland’s minimum wage, was leading with 79 percent.
Schaaf, as the results showed her at least temporarily moving into the lead, wore wooden earrings of Oakland’s Tree logo at her campaign celebration. She said that regardless of the results, she was “so proud of the campaign we’ve done.” Her campaign was “positive, substantive and ethical,” Schaaf said.
“It’s clear we did our very best,” said Thomas Gonzalez, field organizer for Schaaf’s campaign. “All that’s left to do now is to see where the cards fall.”
Meanwhile, at Bryan Parker’s campaign, the mayoral candidate took care to thank his young volunteers. “They are amazing,” he said. “Twenty percent of my volunteers are high schoolers and college students.”
“This has been an amazing journey,” said Natasha Middleton, Parker’s director of policy, and praised him on his campaign. “He has been consistent all the way through. He has exhibited great leadership.”
At a crowded, noisy party in the Jack London Square restaurant Lungomare, Measure N supporters watched results come in with excitement about the apparent victory of the parcel tax, which was intended to improve Oakland’s public schools. Oakland School Superintendent Antwan Wilson, school board candidate Renato Almanzor and school board member Jody London were present.
“A really diverse coalition has come together around this,” Oakland resident and local Teach for America executive director Tracy Session said.
“I have butterflies right now,” said Hezekiah Burton, a Measure N volunteer and graduate of a Linked Learning program at Skyline High School.
Marc Tafolla of GO Public Schools said he thought the Measure N election would be close. Because it is a tax, the measure requires a supermajority, or 67 percent, to pass.
Meanwhile, at Quan’s campaign party, in the back room of Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, more than 200 people enjoyed Mexican food from a buffet. Quan arrived around 9 p.m. with the whole room shouting “Four more years!”
“It feels like a little deja vu, right?” Quan asked, referring to her 2010 run.
In her speech to the crowd, Quan argued that she was the only candidate who had reached out to the immigrant community. “We know that this is going to be a close race,” Quan said. “We know that we may not know until Thursday. We aren’t really quite sure about the early votes.” Late mail-in ballots would take longer to be counted, she reminded her listeners — not to mention the complexities of recalculating voters’ second and third choices in Oakland’s ranked-choice system. “I’m hoping it doesn’t take 10 days, like last time,” Quan said. “But you never know.”
As the results came in showing him just a fraction of a percent behind Kaplan, Tuman said, “It still feels very preliminary at this point. For everybody. If I were Libby, I wouldn’t be dancing just yet.”
Text by Nigel Manuel and Shaina Shealy. Additional reporting and photography by Josh Escobar, Chloe Shi Shang, James Pace-Cornsilk, Gina Pollack, Lakshmi Sarah, Melina Tupa, Nina Zou, Ted Andersen, Melissa Bosworth, Alyssa Perry, Jieqian Zhang, Laura Klivans, Alicia Vargas and Alex Kekauoha.
Oakland North will continue our election coverage in the morning.