Jovanka Beckles looks set to run against Buffy Wicks in the Assembly District 15 race. Photo: Guy Marzorati/KQED

Update, June 18, 10:30 a.m. In a statement released Saturday, Jovanka Beckles said she is looking forward to taking her campaign to the general election.

“I’m enormously grateful for the fabulous support, team spirit, hard work – and fun! – of my volunteer campaigners in the primary. They showed what genuine people power can do,” said Beckles, who has promised to reject corporate contributions.

“Dan Kalb ran a strong campaign and I appreciate his gracious concession statement Thursday,” she wrote. 

Beckles said she will continue to work at a children’s mental health counselor in Contra Costa County while campaigning.

Original story, June 14: Assembly District 15 candidate Jovanka Beckles has claimed the second spot on the November ballot alongside Buffy Wicks, after spending the days since the primary neck-and-neck with Dan Kalb.

Oakland City Councilman Kalb told Berkeleyside on Thursday afternoon he had called Beckles, a Richmond councilwoman, and Wicks, a former Barack Obama staffer, to concede and congratulate them. Beckles could not immediately be reached, and her campaign had not released a statement as of Thursday afternoon.

“I’m very disappointed,” Kalb said. “I thought we had a good chance to get in the top two. I feel I’m someone who has a lot of relevant experience. But voters have the final say, it was a crowded field, and it was hard to predict what would happen.”

Beckles currently has 15.7% of the votes, compared to Kalb’s 15.4%. Wicks easily won the first spot, with 31.6% of the votes currently.

Despite the small margin between the second-place candidates, it is unlikely Kalb would have been able to pull ahead of Beckles. Alameda County, where he is more popular, has finished counting its ballots.

Contra Costa County, where Beckles has earned more votes than Kalb, still has 500 vote-by-mail ballots and 10,000 provisionals to count, according to a representative from the elections office. The next update will be posted Friday.

KQED reporter Guy Marzorati first wrote on Twitter than Kalb told the station he would concede.

Kalb told Berkeleyside he plans to take a trip with his wife this weekend, then meet with the two Assembly candidates shortly after to determine who he’ll endorse.

“Meanwhile, I’m still a councilmember,” he said. “I can get back to it full time.”

In a statement sent out late Thursday afternoon, Wicks congratulated Beckles, writing, “I look forward to a constructive and healthy debate on the issues.”

Wicks said the past year, campaigning on the heel of the presidential election, has been the “most incredible” of her life. “The entire time, we made clear that resistance meant not only standing up to Donald Trump — though we resolved to do that — but talking to the voters of the East Bay about how to translate our progressive values into results that will move our communities and all of California forward — and make us an example for the rest of the country.”

Track the results of other statewide contests and Alameda County races.

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,...