Quan defeats Perata to become next mayor of Oakland

Will be first Asian American woman elected mayor of major American city

City Councilwoman Jean Quan has been named the unofficial winner in Oakland's mayoral race, a spokesman for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters said Wednesday.

Quan edged out former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata in a ranked-choice voter runoff, Registrar of Voters spokesman Guy Ashley said. After all the votes had been counted, Quan had 50.98 percent of the vote to Perata's 49.02 percent, Ashley said. She led by 2,058 votes in a race where more than 100,000 ballots were cast.

The results aren't considered final yet because they still need to be certified, Ashley said. The county has until Nov. 30 to certify the results and name an official winner, but Registrar of Voters Dave MacDonald said in a statement he expects to do so sooner.

If Quran's victory stands, she will be the first Asian American woman elected mayor of a major city when she takes office on Jan. 3, according to her campaign. She will also be Oakland's first female mayor.

"We feel very good about this," Quan spokeswoman Sue Piper said of the councilwoman's victory. "It shows that the Oakland voters are paying attention and want change."

She said Quan has been working in Oakland for 20 years as a community organizer, school board member and City Council member.

"Her work was always about working with neighbors and having them work together," she said.

Perata's campaign said he would address the results at a news conference today. His spokesman referred to an article that said voters might have been confused by the ranked-choice voting system, which was in used in Oakland for the first time this year.

Since a candidate needs more than 50 percent of the vote to win, which is difficult to obtain in races with several candidates, voters were asked to enter their first three choices. The second-choice votes of the lower-place finishers were distributed to candidates who were still in the race until someone got at least 50 percent of the vote.

Perata led Quan 35 percent to 24 percent on election night, based on first-choice votes alone, but Quan won the ranked-choice runoff.


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Posted by Crestfallen
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

Congratulations to Jean Quan for winning according to the rules. However, the ranked choice voting is a disgrace. It is outrageous that a candidate (Perata in this case) can have a gigantic advantage in first place votes (35% to 24%) and still lose the election.

This is a case of good intentions gone bad. We may have saved the City the cost of a run off election but the price we've paid is that we've elected mayor that less than a quarter of the voters are excited about.

I voted for Joe Tuman, so I really didn't have a dog in the fight. But I have to say that I think Perata got the shaft in a big way.

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Posted by Davey
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

I disagree that "less than a quarter of the voters are excited about" Quan. Ranked choice voting is much more fair than a plurality voting. In this case, if Perata had been declared the winner with only 35% of the (first choice) votes, that means that 65% of the voters wanted someone other than Perata. That kind of outcome is terrible in a multi-way race.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to choose a first-choice candidate that might be unlikely to win, yet still allow their vote to count for a second-choice candidate who stands a better chance of being elected. In this case, 50.98% of voters chose Quan. Not necessarily as a first choice, but as one of their acceptable choices. That should clearly be seen as a strong vote of confidence for Quan.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 11, 2010 at 11:14 am

It's time for Perata to He can get a job and work just like other Americans.


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Posted by Ryan
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm


As Ranked Choice voting is superior to conventional voting: it is hardly a disgrace. In fact, I would like to see *all* voting in the United States move to ranked choice voting. The lack of ranked choice voting is a major reason why we are presently stuck with a two party system.

"Left leaning" voters are too afraid to vote for a Green Party candidate, as it weakens a democratic candidate. Whereas "Right leaning" voters are too afraid to vote for a Tea Party candidate, as it weakens a republican candidate. This phenomenon is the direct result of the fact that conventional voting limits one's choice to "a lesser evil" as opposed to having the opportunity to choose who he/she thinks is truly right for the job.

While I prefer not to fault our nation's founding father's for making a mistake (given it would be humanly impossible for them to foresee *everything*) -- I have to say that it would have been nice if rank voting were originally apart of our constitution.

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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

The good news, with Perata losing, is that he can now focus on fighting the federal indictment against him. He is not fit for office.

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Posted by Better Idea for Voting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm

How about another Option: None of the Above.
And if None of the Above gets the most votes, then none of the above can run in the runoff?

Like this comment
Posted by Weekly cuts off discussion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Why do you guys cut off discussion, like the retirement topic?

I might understand after you get a lot of interest, but you cut if off before,
and I'd like to hear the points of view, and post some if I could!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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