Incumbent Julie Testa and newcomer Jeff Nibert, the two City Council candidates who most supported slow growth in Pleasanton, controlled their respective election races while the formality of Mayor Karla Brown's reelection unopposed was confirmed.
Nibert, a planning commissioner for the city, has declared victory with his Election Night lead over sole opponent Dean Wallace strengthening to an almost 400-vote margin in the City Council District 1 race, as of the updated election results on Thursday.
This general election is Pleasanton's first time following a district-based format for the City Council's four-year term seats, with District 1 representing the northwest Pleasanton neighborhoods and District 3 representing the southwestern part of the city on the 2022 ballot.
"To the voters of Pleasanton District 1, I want to say a huge 'Thank you!' I am humbled by the confidence and trust that the voters have placed in me," Nibert told the Weekly. "I look forward to serving not only as their representative on the City Council, but to serving all of Pleasanton as well."
Nibert, a 35-year resident of Pleasanton, took a strong lead of almost a 2:1 margin on Election Night and has maintained it as of Thursday with 63.04% of votes, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office.
"My initial reaction to the numbers was that they really affirmed the positive responses I have been receiving from voters," Nibert said. "I am grateful that our campaign message not only resonated with voters, but also aligned with their vision of Pleasanton's future."
Some of his campaign goals included supporting affordable housing in areas where it makes sense while retaining local control, improving the city's wells and maintaining the city's public safety.
"With the help and enthusiasm of our volunteers and supporters, our campaign seems to have prevailed by a strong margin," Nibert said. "There will be more votes counted over the next several weeks before the final count is certified, but I am confident that this result will stand."
District 1 candidate Wallace, a political staffer who currently works as a district director for Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Berkeley), has more or less conceded the race as he sits far back in second place with 36.96% of votes.
"While the final results may yet tighten as more votes are counted, I think the writing on the wall is clear," Wallace told the Weekly. "This is a campaign that came with many rewarding moments and successes, but also its fair share of humbling and teachable moments -- (Election Night) being chief among them."
Wallace said that while the end result isn’t what he had hoped, he was proud of the campaign he ran and is thankful for his coalition of supporters.
"I know that I can hold my head up high, knowing that through this campaign I’ve stayed true to myself, and what I believe in," Wallace said. "I ran this campaign on a message and with a platform I wholeheartedly believe in. Unfortunately, it was not what the voters of my district were looking for -- and I respect their decision. I am truly honored to have taken part in this process, and will be forever grateful for the experience."
In District 3, Councilmember Testa is getting set to return to the council as she took and held a steadying 10% lead over second place.
According to Thursday night's updated numbers, Testa sits atop the race with 44.69% of votes among three candidates.
"I am honored to have the support of District 3 to continue serving our Pleasanton community. I am looking forward to welcoming and working with Jeff Nibert on the City Council," Testa told the Weekly. "I thank Pleasanton voters for putting their confidence in candidates they trust to work to preserve what is wonderful about Pleasanton. I am proud that the outcome of our council election demonstrates that special interest money and endorsements do not determine Pleasanton elections."
Testa, who first won election to the council at-large in 2018, has held a strong position on fighting to maintain local control and pushing back on the state's mandated housing laws. She has also supported recent council items to do more work on the city's problem with its water wells and has also called for more police oversight in the form of an independent auditor.
Testa's challengers for the seat were chair of the city's Committee on Energy and the Environment Joel Liu, who currently trails behind with 34.75% of votes, and former Pleasanton Unified School District trustee Jamie Yee, who fell short in the race with 20.56% of votes.
"I am grateful for all the voters who supported my campaign," Yee told the Weekly. "While this is not the outcome I envisioned, I remain committed to ensuring our issues are lifted up. I encourage residents to get involved and engaged in helping shape our city's future during this critical time."
Liu said he has been following the election results since Tuesday night and plans on continuing to monitor the results during the next few weeks and more updates come along. In order to win, he would need to get more than Testa's current 1,250 votes -- he currently has 972.
"I do want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported or voted for me in this campaign. Win or lose, this is an amazing journey. I learned a lot by talking to hundreds, if not thousands, of Pleasanton residents," Liu told the Weekly. "Their feedback and perspectives helped to shape my campaign priorities and what I have learned from this campaign experience will help me to do even better when I continue to give back to or serve our community."
Mayor Brown, who ran unopposed during this election, has received 10,438 votes thus far -- compared to the 18,192 she got in a hotly contested 2020 mayor race.
"I am excited to serve as Pleasanton's mayor for a second term. It will also be an honor to serve alongside council members Valerie Arkin, Julie Testa, Jack Balch and our newest member Jeff Nibert," Brown told the Weekly. "Our city is in good hands with people who have served our community for many years, and we all understand that we have a choice on where to live and raise our families, and Pleasanton is our choice and our home."
The next update to the election results will be on Monday around 5 p.m., according to the registrar's office, with final result certification due by Dec. 8. County election officials said Thursday that they still have 182,120 ballots left to process, consisting of eligible vote-by-mail, conditional and provisional ones. It is unclear how many outstanding ballots come from Pleasanton.