Nov. 9, 5:10 p.m. After several days in second place, Lori Droste has pulled into the lead in Berkeley’s Council District 8. She has 1,995 votes, compared to George Beier’s 1,983. Read more.
Original story, Nov. 5 While residents of District 8 may not know for days whether George Beier or Lori Droste will represent them on the Berkeley City Council, the results in two other districts are more clear-cut. But in District 7, where Councilman Kriss Worthington has the lead, his challenger Sean Barry is not willing to concede the race yet.
Jesse Arreguín won handily in District 4, as he ran unopposed.
See the latest figures in Berkeleyside’s election 2014 live blog.
Linda Maio won re-election in District 1, an area she has represented for 22 years. She garnered 55.35% of the vote (1,779 votes so far) while Alejandro Soto-Vigil got 39.98% of the vote (1,285 votes). A third candidate, Merrilie Mitchell, got 4.67% of the votes (about 150 votes).
Maio, who, before Soto-Vigil, had not faced a serious challenger since she first ran for office, said she spent a lot of time walking her district. When she spoke to people she emphasized Measure D, the proposed soda tax, and left literature behind that described her accomplishments, she said.
Soto-Vigil made the environment a centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that Maio had not done enough to address the issues surrounding air quality in the district’s asphalt plant, among other things.
Soto-Vigil, who is also an aide to Kriss Worthington and a member of the Rent Stabilization Board, took an aggressive tone when he conceded defeat Tuesday night.
“I gotta say I am actually sad for the District 1 residents,” he said. “Looking for the last five and a half years at the City Council composition, looking at the platform of what’s been on the agenda, the voting record, it’s a travesty really.”
Maio said she was “sorry” to hear Soto-Vigil’s remarks.
“It is not usually what we do in a campaign,” she said. “We try to be gracious in a campaign. You honor the democratic process.”
In District 7, Worthington held a strong lead over challenger Sean Barry, with 421 votes to 340 votes, a 55.32% to 44.68% advantage. But with numerous absentee ballots uncounted, Barry was unwilling to concede the race.
“We still don’t know what the total votes cast will be given that counting is still underway,” Barry wrote in an email. “Obviously, I’d rather be ahead than behind, but I’m not ready to concede at this time and would like that to be noted. According to the current returns, I’m leading in two sorority-heavy precincts and two of the homeowner-dominated precincts, both areas where I was visible and active…. I would also note that the Willard and LeConte precincts where I am currently in the lead have higher turnout, so there is the potential to gain ground there.”
The low turnout in the District 7 race — fewer than 1,000 votes have been tallied so far — surprised many observers.
“It is really disappointing,” said Mayor Tom Bates, who said the turnout shows that students don’t vote. He said that, aside from the soda tax measure, there was no other hot item to lure students to the polls during a midterm election.
The low turnout and Worthington’s lead are not what Bates and a majority of the council hoped to accomplish when they adopted new council boundaries. (Since Measure S passed, the lines will be used until the 2020 census requires new boundaries be drawn). The new boundaries created a more conservative district since it included the south side of campus, dotted with fraternities and sororities, and excluded the more liberal co-ops on the north side of campus. But Worthington, who is a linchpin of the council’s three-member progressive faction, appears to have survived this challenge.
In District 8, George Beier is holding onto a slim lead over Lori Droste. Since he leads by only 25 votes and many absentee ballots have not yet been counted, the race is still too close to call.
While Droste held the lead after all the votes were tallied early Wednesday morning, she did not capture 50% + 1 of the vote, so the ranked choice voting system went into effect. By the time the Alameda County registrar of voters had gone through four rounds of RCV, Beier had 1,267 or 50.50% of the vote, and Droste had 1,242 or 49.50% of the vote.
Michael Alvarez Cohen came in third and Jacquelyn McCormick came in fourth.
The registrar of voters has said the next significant update on local races will happen at 5 p.m. Thursday.
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