Lori Droste is the new District 8 councilwoman. Photo courtesy of Facebook
Lori Droste is the new District 8 councilwoman. Courtesy: Lori Droste/Facebook

Final tallies released Wednesday night make Lori Droste the narrow winner in what became a tense and protracted race for Berkeley City Council District 8.

Alameda County will certify the results by Monday, but all votes have been counted, leaving Droste with 2,072 votes, or 50.19%, compared to opponent George Beier’s 2,056 votes, or 49.81%.

Beier has said he will not challenge the results.

“I’m humbled by the support of District 8 and I look forward to working hard on Council,” Droste said. “I want to congratulate all my opponents for running a great race.”

Droste said she attributes her victory to “hard work and community members who want a fresh perspective.”

Beier said he will not request a recount, as the process is expensive and has not yielded new results in recent elections. He said he wanted to congratulate Droste, a “hardworking, smart and capable” candidate.

“All of us really grew to respect each other,” Beier said. But he admitted it was “difficult” to lose by “one-third of 1%.”

Droste maintained a lead throughout most of the tallying process. She failed to get a majority of the votes after the first count, so the ranked-choice voting system took effect. During the fourth round, Beier had a temporary, slim lead over Droste.

Candidate Jacquelyn McCormick was eliminated in the second round and Mike Alvarez Cohen in the third.

Droste is the chair of the city’s Commission on the Status of Women, where she has led an effort to release the first “Status of Women in Berkeley” report. She is also a member of the Housing Advisory Commission and co-teaches a course at Mills College on women in politics, which she’ll continue to teach while serving on the council. She will be the first openly gay woman on the Berkeley City Council.

Droste’s campaign focused on affordable housing, crime reduction, parks and schools.

This election marks the end of Gordon Wozniak’s three-term run as councilman. He announced his plans to retire from political life last year.

District 8 extends north and east from the Elmwood, including some UC Berkeley student housing and some of Berkeley’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Kriss Worthington retains District 7; nail-biter in District 8 (11.10.14)
District 8 race a toss-up; Barry says he is still fighting for District 7; other council races more settled (11.05.14)
District 8 candidates share their vision for downtown (10.08.14)
3, maybe 4, candidates vie for Wozniak’s council seat (04.11.14)

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Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...