Results remain unchanged for out Alameda supervisor candidates

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday March 7, 2024
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Jennifer Esteen, left, continues to fall short in her bid for an Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat, while John Bauters remains poised to advance to a runoff race in his contest. Photos: Courtesy the candidates
Jennifer Esteen, left, continues to fall short in her bid for an Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat, while John Bauters remains poised to advance to a runoff race in his contest. Photos: Courtesy the candidates

Following the first vote update from Alameda County elections officials since Tuesday, gay Emeryville City Councilmember John Bauters is holding on to his second place finish in the race for an open supervisor seat. Only the top two finishers will advance to the fall runoff.

Bauters' current tally stands at 4,391 votes or close to 20% of the ballots counted to date. Still ahead of him in first place with 6,244 votes for 28% of the count is Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas.

Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett remains in third place with 18% of the vote. His current ballot count is 3,992.

Supervisor Keith Carson made the surprise decision to retire at the end of his current term, leading to the nine-way race on the primary ballot to succeed him. Due to the crowded field, no one was expected to receive more than 50% of the vote in the March 5 election to clinch the contest.

Thus, the race will be decided on the November 5 ballot. Should he win the seat, Bauters would be the first LGBTQ community member elected as a supervisor in Alameda County.

His campaign noted the race was "still too close to call" in a statement it released shortly after the new tally came out.

"I'm encouraged by the early results and profoundly grateful for the support we earned from voters across Alameda County's 5th District," stated Bauters. "Together with our dedicated volunteers and generous grassroots supporters, we built a campaign on the idea that Alameda County residents deserve real change — safer neighborhoods, healthier communities, more affordable housing, and an economy that works for working people. While we wait patiently for the remaining votes to be counted, I'm excited about the work ahead and remain dedicated to that brighter future for our communities."

In the other supervisor race with an out candidate, gay nurse Jennifer Esteen continues to trail far behind District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley. Currently board president, Miley is on his way to retaining his seat with a commanding 63% of the vote, which was unchanged after Thursday's update.

Earlier in the day Esteen had posted a statement on X thanking her supporters and indicating she would not concede until all the ballots are counted.

"There are many tens of thousands of ballots left to be counted and we know young people, progressives and voters of color tend to vote closer to Election Day," stated Esteen. "Each vote is important and a representation of the people's voice. We are committed to ensuring that every vote is counted."

As for the race for the open District 7 state Senate seat, which spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Thursday's update also didn't change the standings in the contest from election night. AC Transit boardmember Jovanka Beckles and union leader Kathryn Lybarger, who both identify as queer and lesbian, remain out of the top two spots.

They were among the six people seeking the seat. It is open due to Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) being termed out later this year.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín remains in first place with 20,511 votes. Holding in second place with 10,902 votes is Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb.

Beckles trails behind him in third place with 8,942 votes. Coming in fourth is Lybarger with 8,650 votes. Her lead has expanded over fifth place finisher Jeanne Solnordal, as the Republican now has 8,104 votes.

There are still 99,600 ballots to count in Contra Costa County, where an update is expected Friday at 4 p.m. It is unclear how many ballots remain to be counted in Alameda, though the county registrar is expected to next update the count at 5 p.m. Friday.

Low still trails in South Bay House race

Little has also changed in the open South Bay congressional seat where gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) finds himself stuck in third place with 17,657 votes after another count update from elections officials in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. He remains behind the top two Democratic finishers poised to advance to the fall ballot.

Former San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo continues to lead the pack with 24,048 votes, according to the latest unofficial returns. Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian remains in second place with 19,543 votes.

The trio is competing to succeed Congressmember Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) in the 16th Congressional District, which spans the two South Bay counties. Her decision to retire later this year opened up an opportunity for Low to be elected the first LGBTQ member of Congress in the Bay Area.

Liccardo is currently at roughly 22% of the vote, Simitian has close to 18% and Low stands at 16%. Noting Low's margin behind Simitian has now narrowed from 2 to 1.7%, his campaign remains hopeful he can move up into the second spot and move on to the fall ballot.

There remain 135,000 ballots to count in Santa Clara County. It will post an update Friday by 5 p.m.

San Mateo County had 67,600 ballots left to count as of Thursday. It will next update its tally by 4:30 p.m. Monday.

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