Taylor, Thao leading in Oakland mayor's race

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022
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Oakland mayoral candidates Sheng Thao, left, and Loren Taylor were the early leaders in the race. Photos: Courtesy the candidates
Oakland mayoral candidates Sheng Thao, left, and Loren Taylor were the early leaders in the race. Photos: Courtesy the candidates

Two Oakland city councilmembers were leading in the ranked choice balloting for mayor, while the District 4 council race assures there will be queer representation on that body.

Sheng Thao and Loren Taylor were early leaders among the 10 candidates vying for Oakland mayor. The counting of ranked choice ballots will resume Wednesday, and the eventual winner likely will not be known for a few days.

Thao, who currently represents District 4, had 28.73% of the early vote. Taylor, who currently represents District 6, had 34.19%, unofficial returns showed. Former longtime councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente rounded out the top three contenders with 12.89% of the vote.

In fourth was Allyssa Victory Villanueva with 6.93 %, while District 7 City Councilmember Treva Reid rounded out the top five with 5.93%.

In the race's closing weeks, Taylor and Reid announced a one-two strategy, urging their supporters to vote for the other candidate as their second choice vote.

"I am encouraged that, from what has been counted thus far, I have earned the most first place votes of any candidate," stated Taylor. "I believe we are on a path to victory, but it is too soon to say much more than that tonight. Here in Oakland, we believe in free and fair elections where every legal vote is counted and the will of the voters is respected."

Wednesday afternoon Thao expressed confidence in her chances of emerging ahead in the race as more ballots are counted.

"We are so proud of the campaign we have run, and want to thank all of our supporters and volunteers for their dedication to our great city," stated Thao. "The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has so far only counted 37,000 votes and there are 70,000 ballots that remain to be counted. We remain optimistic about the final outcome. Every vote deserves to be counted."

In the race for the District 4 council seat, which Thao is vacating because she's running for mayor, queer social justice attorney Janani Ramachandran easily defeated queer sex store owner Nenna Joiner, 64.26% to 35.74%. The district includes much of the Oakland hills and the neighborhoods of Dimond, Glen Highlands, Montclair, Glenview, Laurel, and Redwood Heights, among others.

Since Ramachandran's unsuccessful run for Assembly last year after Governor Gavin Newsom tapped Rob Bonta to be state attorney general (his wife, Mia, won the race to succeed him in the Assembly and easily secured reelection Tuesday), she has pivoted to local office. She has served on the Oakland Public Ethics Commission.

Among the four candidates running for the District 6 seat on the Oakland City Council is tax preparer Nancy Sidebotham, a lesbian making her seventh bid to be elected to a council seat. It is also open this year, as Taylor opted to run for mayor rather than seek reelection. Sidebotham again fell short, landing in second place with 13.31% of the vote.

In countywide races on East Bay ballots, Marguerite Young, a lesbian single mom, won reelection to a third term on the East Bay Municipal Utility District's oversight body's Ward 3 seat. She received 82.28% of the vote, while water utility planner Mark Seedall, who is straight,came in second with 17.72%.

Bisexual EBMUD Director Andy Katz, who also identifies as gay, was unopposed for the third election cycle in a row and will be automatically appointed to another four-year term in his Ward 4 seat. Both Katz and Young represent districts that span Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Nonbinary queer architect and artist Alfred Twu fell short in their bid to oust AC Transit Board Vice President Joel Young from his at-large seat on the board that oversees public transportation services in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Twu, who serves on Berkeley's planning and landmarks commissions, received 38.49% of the vote in Alameda County, while Young netted 61.51%. In Contra Costa County, Young was leading with 60.33%, while Twu had 39.67%.

Twu had hoped to serve alongside lesbian AC Transit board member Jovanka Beckles. The former Richmond city councilmember won election to her Ward 1 seat in 2020.

This article will be updated as more ballot returns come in.

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