(update: Ballots are still being counted and this race remains undecided. We apologize for our error)
Sheng Thao’s bid to become the first Hmong American woman to lead a major city may be falling short.
The latest results from the Alameda County Registrar of voters shows Thao second to fellow council member Loren Taylor, 53% -47% in Oakland mayor’s race.
Neither candidate won a majority of the vote in the ten field race. When that happened, the race is decided by ranked choice voting-best described as an instant runoff designed to save the costs of holding another election.
Each voter is allowed to choose as many as four candidates, ranking the choices in the order of preference. The candidate who receives the least number of first place votes is eliminated.
When a voter’s top candidate is removed, their vote goes to their second choice. This process is continued until all the candidates except the winner are banished.
Under the system, the first candidate to receive 50% + 1 of the first place vote wins.
The first round of voting had Thao behind Taylor by 5.46%. Voting continued for 9 rounds until Taylor received more than 50 percent of the vote. However the election is not over until all votes are counted.
Thao is a single mother who received strong backing from labor unions and California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta. She is often described as a progressive. She cited her ability to get a diverse city to work together for a common good as a her strongest asset.
Taylor received the endorsement of outgoing mayor Libby Schaff who is being termed out as well as the mayors of San Jose and San Francisco.
“I believe we are on a path to victory, but it is too soon to say much more than that tonight,” Taylor said to Local News Matter last night. “I encourage all of my supporters and all Oaklanders to be patient, as I will be.”
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