District 2 Berkeley City Council candidate Terry Taplin
Terry Taplin. Photo: Courtesy Taplin campaign

West Berkeley may have a new council member — if the preliminary ranked-choice voting figures are any indication.

Challenger Terry Taplin has thus far secured 39% of the District 2 vote, followed by incumbent Cheryl Davila with 29%. An estimated 32,000 Berkeley votes have been counted. About 3,600 of those were cast in the District 2 race.

Because Taplin did not reach the 50% threshold, the ranked-choice voting formula comes into play. That means candidates are eliminated one by one until someone is left with 50%. It’s how Davila secured the District 2 seat four years ago.

On Election Day, Berkeleyside stayed up late into the night to see if Alameda County would post the first ranked-choice voting calculations, as it has done in past years. But that didn’t happen. The numbers were provided to Berkeleyside by request Wednesday morning.

According to those unofficial results, fourth-place candidate Timothy Carter would be eliminated first. His votes would be split pretty closely between Taplin and Alex Sharenko.

Ranked-choice voting puts Taplin farther ahead

The ballots for Sharenko, who would then be slightly behind Davila with 28% of the vote to her 30%, would be reallocated next.

According to the formula, 618 of Sharenko’s 982 votes would go to Taplin and 174 would go to Davila.

That would put Taplin solidly in first place with 63% of the vote.

As of Wednesday, about 11,200 ballots had been issued in District 2, and 8,000 of them had been returned.

On Tuesday night, Taplin told Berkeleyside he was proud of the campaign his team has run.

“Despite the challenges of running during a pandemic and being a first-time challenger, I was able to build a strong coalition, share my vision, and connect with my neighbors throughout District 2,” he said. “This is my home district, this is where I grew up, and I am deeply proud to serve and represent my community. Whichever way the election goes, I’m here to work and I’m in this for the long haul.”

All the other Berkeley City Council incumbents appear poised to hold onto their seats by wide margins.

Berkeleyside will continue to follow the District 2 race closely and will share new information as soon as it is available. See the first ranked-choice report released by Alameda County.

Update, 2:20 p.m. Davila posted her response to the results on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, writing, “It appears, cheating, corruption and collusion, dark money, lies, sabotage, and stealing are acceptable in the COB races, SADLY. Progressive FACADE wins.. DOMINATION and control succeeds… It ain’t over til it’s over.”

Update, Nov. 5

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...