Schaaf Claims Victory in Oakland's Mayoral Race, Quan and Kaplan Concede

LIbby Schaaf. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

Update, 6:25 p.m. Wednesday:

Rebecca Kaplan released a statement congratulating Oakland Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf Wednesday evening.

"Mayor-elect Schaaf and I share a deep and profound commitment to making Oakland stronger, safer and more prosperous," Kaplan said in the statement. "I'm excited to partner with her on a wide variety of ways to improve the city that she and I both love."

At last count, Kaplan was in third place behind incumbent Jean Quan and Schaaf. Quan conceded earlier today.

Alameda County plans to update election results Thursday at 5 p.m. However, none of the 14 other official Oakland mayoral candidates are expected to overtake Schaaf.

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Quan and Schaaf plan to hold a joint news conference Thursday morning to talk about collaboration the transition of Oakland's executive office.

Original post:

In the race for mayor of Oakland, City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf has claimed that she is the winner. Her fellow Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan in second place. Mayor Jean Quan, who finished third, has conceded.

It certainly felt like a victory party last night as Schaaf spoke at her campaign headquarters, “Oakland is a city that has frequently missed the bus when opportunity has come to knock on our door… and doesn’t this feel like it is Oakland’s time finally.”

Wednesday morning Schaaf's campaign released  a statement claiming victory:

"I am honored by the tonight’s results and want to thank the people of Oakland for the trust they have placed in me. The people have made it clear that they are looking for progressive leadership and a new direction for Oakland."

Schaaf’s confidence seemed to be rewarded Tuesday night. The registrar posted the ranked choice election results with Schaaf garnering 62.8 percent of the vote, and Kaplan in second place with 37.2 percent.

Kaplan had been the consistent leader in the polls in this race for weeks. And her campaign manager Jason Overman, was by no means ready to concede this morning.

“We’re not going to speculate an outcome that we don’t know yet,” said Overman. “It would be premature for any candidate to declare anything.”

Libby Schaaf thanked supporters as she maintains her lead in a field of 15.  (Cy Musiker/KQED)
Libby Schaaf thanked supporters as she maintains her lead in a field of 15. (Cy Musiker/KQED)

That’s because the county registrar still has to count thousands of mail in ballots. Those votes could radically change the results under the ranked choice voting system, in which as candidates with the lowest number of first place votes are eliminated, their supporters’ second and third choices are moved to candidates still in the running.

Schaaf benefitted from a pair of high-powered endorsements late in the race from Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.

“The endorsements were great,” said Schaaf’s campaign manager Peggy Moore. “But we’ve had a very strong team of volunteers who have been very disciplined and very focused to do the outreach to the voters of Oakland just to introduce them to Libby. And we believed all along that the people who met Libby would like Libby.”

Meanwhile incumbent Mayor Jean Quan told reporters last night that she came from behind in 2010 to beat the frontrunner State Senator Don Perata, and she could do it again. Quan was in third place until the final round of ranked choice counting.

But Quan also sounded philosophical about what might be the end of her first and only term as mayor, one marked by turmoil and voter disenchantment.

“I’ve been through some incredibly tough times, and every time something happens where one door closes, the next one opens,” she said.

The Alameda County registrar has said it will take until Thursday or Friday to complete the count of all the mail-in ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day.

Public safety was the top issue for most voters, and the candidates all proposed ways to reduce crime, boost police effectiveness and staffing, and maintain gang intervention programs like Ceasefire.

Rebecca Kaplan dances at her election night party. (Cy Musiker/KQED)
Rebecca Kaplan danced at her election night party, despite election returns. (Cy Musiker/KQED)

The city is also facing looming budget deficits, and the candidates have been less precise on how they would cover the expected shortfalls.

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Voters also approved Measure Z. That’s a continuation of a parcel and parking meter tax raising about $277 million over the 10 years. The money would mostly go to pay for police officers and community-based violence prevention programs. Measure Z needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

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