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As Election Night 2018 ends, most Oakland races still uncalled

on November 6, 2018

By late Tuesday night, many of Oakland’s biggest ticket races remained uncalled, with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ having counted less than a fifth of all ballots.

As of 10:30 p.m., with 17 percent of precincts reporting, Oakland’s mayoral race was showing incumbent Mayor Libby Schaaf ahead with 64 percent of the votes. She was trailed by Cat Brooks with 15 percent and Pamela Price with 10 percent of the votes. The ranked choice voting system requires the winning candidate to receive 50 percent plus one of the first choice votes cast for that office.

Just after 10 p.m., Schaaf supporters toasted with tequila. “It’s from Oakland!” a volunteer said while pouring drinks.

“I’m feeling like it’s still not over,” Schaaf said nearly three hours after polls closed. “Four years ago, I stayed up until 3 a.m. I don’t know how long I’ll last tonight, though. When you’re the mayor, it’s harder to campaign. I really had to put my job before the campaign.”

Shortly after, Schaaf laughed and showed her phone to her campaign manager: “Ha! Look, John Madden texted me ‘Congratulations!’”

Greg McConnell, president of Oakland’s jobs and housing coalition, said he’s happy with the results so far. “Libby’s been a great ambassador for the city. She’s a strong negotiator. She’s got talent, but I think we need to do more to address the homelessness and housing crisis,” she said.

Although initial results showed Brooks behind Schaaf, her campaign is not conceding. Brooks’ staff said they don’t anticipate knowing the final results of the election until Thursday or Friday.

“I’m not seeing check marks on any person,” said Brooks campaign volunteer Ari Trujillo-Wesler. “It might be Thanksgiving before we know who the mayor is.”

As of 11 pm, the races for city council Districts 2, 4 and 6 also remained uncalled.

Nevertheless, waiting for District 6 results, candidate Loren Taylor began giving victory speech just after 10:30 p.m., thanking his campaign team and giving his wife a kiss. As of 11 p.m., 19 percent of votes were reported with Taylor leading the candidate pool with 41 percent of the votes.

“It’s very likely he’ll win,” said Leo Wallach, one of Taylor’s consultants. “To put up numbers like that on a first ballot, it’s big.”

In the Oakland Unified School District school board races, two seemed easy to call: District 2 representative Aimee Eng and District 6 representative Shanthi Gonzales both ran unopposed, easily winning their races.

At 11 p.m., former Oakland schools superintendent Gary Yee was still leading District 4 with 66 percent of the votes at 15 percent reporting.

Awaiting school board District 4 results throughout the night, Clarissa Doutherd and her supporters shared drinks and food at Miliki Spots, a West African restaurant on MacArthur Boulevard. As music blared, there was excitement as supporters reflected on Doutherd’s campaign—along with some relief that the hard work of campaigning had come to an end.

Still, Doutherd said she and a group of volunteers spread out across the district to inform voters about their rights, guide them toward their polling stations, and provide information on her campaign. “I’m really proud of the community we brought together on this campaign,” Doutherd said, adding that she talked to a lot of first-time voters and was excited about the coalition they were building.

At Impact Hub, a coworking and events space in downtown Oakland, California schools superintendent candidate Tony Thurmond’s election watch party was full of cautious murmuring as early results showed him trailing by about 5 points. But when Thurmond arrived the assembled crowd chanted “Tony! Tony! Tony!”

Thurmond, currently the member of the California State Assembly, waged a campaign against charter school administrator Marshall Tuck in a race that became a focus for charter and public school advocates. “We’re fighting literally for the soul of public education. We’re fighting for each and every one of our 6 million kids,” Thurmond said.

“We always expected to be down in the beginning, because Republicans tend to vote earlier; our opponent really rallied Republicans around his campaign,” said Thurmond’s campaign manager Madeline Franklin.

Just after 11:30 p.m., Franklin said the race was too close to call and that they would continue watching the results until midnight.

Oakland School Board Member Roseann Torres (District 5) said she was hoping Thurmond would end the night victorious. “This is the race that has been keeping me up for several nights,” Torres said. “It’s really scary to me to think that Oakland Unified School District is hanging on by a string right now.” If Tuck wins, Torres added, it could give more power to charter schools in Oakland which compete with district schools for funding and students.

As of 11:20 p.m., with reports coming in from 37 percent of the precincts, the California Secretary of State’s website had Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom leading the race for governor with 57 percent of the votes. Challenger John H. Cox was trailing behind with support from nearly 43 percent of voters.

At the same time, Senator Dianne Feinstein was leading with nearly 54 percent of the votes, followed closely by challenger Kevin De Leon with a little more than 46 percent of the votes.

As of 11:21 p.m. and with 37 percent of precincts reporting in California, 55.3 percent of voters had voted No on Proposition 6, which would revoke a 2017 transportation tax designated for road repairs and public transportation. Meanwhile, 61.6 percent had voted yes on Proposition 7, which would give the legislature the capacity to change the Daylight Saving Time period by a two-thirds vote, if changes are consistent with federal law.

So far 59.3 percent had voted yes on Proposition 12, which would establish minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals. It would also prohibit the sale of meat and eggs products from animals confined in non-complying manner.

As the results of Proposition 10—which would remove limits on cities’ abilities to enact rent control measures—played out on a projector at the Brooks campaign watch party, audience members groaned. In addition to being a party for the mayoral candidate, the watch party also served as a meeting place for supporters of the ballot measure. As of 11:15, the ballot initiative was losing with about 65 percent of voters against, although only 37 percent of precincts had been counted.

Leah Simon-Weisberg, managing attorney of the Tenant Rights Program at Centro Legal de la Raza, stood outside discussing the results with a group of tenants. “I think it’s a win. I think it’s a win in terms of they spent the amount of money that they did,” Simon-Weisberg said, referring to the money spent on the No on Proposition 10 campaign. “Tenants across the state got together and there’s a huge movement now.”

Simon-Weisberg said she believes it’s only a matter of time before the state legislature passes something similar to what would have been accomplished with the passage of Proposition 10.

As of 10:30 pm, with 91 percent of the votes counted, the Associated Press reported that Democrats lead 206 to 188 in the House of Representatives. The Senate remained in Republican control, however, with a 9 seat lead. At that time, 94 percent of Congressional seats had been declared.

The Democrats needed to pick up 23 seats in the House to take control. They’ve surpassed that mark and are on track to gain the majority.

Oakland North will continue to follow the election results, with new reporting starting Wednesday morning.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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