Alameda County Sheriff's Cmdr. Yesenia Sanchez has declared victory as she continues to grow her lead in the race for county sheriff, with the latest tally Tuesday indicating she's received 52.69% of the overall vote count.
If this trend holds as the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office finishes tabulating final ballots in the days ahead, Sanchez will win outright in the primary election in a surprise upset defeat of her boss, incumbent Sheriff-Coroner Greg Ahern who currently has 31.49%.
Immediately following Election Night last Tuesday, the initial tallies suggested that the two candidates would be poised for a runoff election in November. However, by Friday evening, Sanchez had narrowly crept above the 50% threshold needed to win the seat and avoid a runoff altogether.
Livermore resident Sanchez is already prepared to claim victory, looking ahead to serving as Alameda County's next sheriff and becoming the first Latina and first woman to hold the position.
"The voters of Alameda County have spoken: they yearn for a Sheriff who will bring reform, transparency, and accountability to the Office. I hear these calls loud and clear. As the next Sheriff of Alameda County, I know that I’ve been entrusted with an enormous duty, and I will make our county proud," Sanchez told the Weekly in a statement.
If Sanchez is officially declared the winner, she would take office in January, following the completion of Ahern's current term. In a statement Friday, Sanchez thanked Ahern for his service and said she will "work with him on an orderly transition."
Ahern congratulated Sanchez in a concession statement shared on social media Wednesday afternoon.
"I am very proud that I was able to serve as a member of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, in the county where I was born and raised," Ahern said. "It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your sheriff for the past 16 years. I will retire from office at the end of my term on January 3, 2023, after nearly 43 years of public service."
He added that his administration will "work to ensure a smooth transition" and he wished the incoming administration "the best of luck."
With the current totals, Sanchez has earned 133,628 votes, Ahern has 79,853 and the third candidate in the primary -- Alameda resident and San Francisco Police Department Officer JoAnn Walker -- sits at 15.83% with 40,140 votes.