Update Nov. 18, 9:30 a.m.: Results posted Thursday afternoon show Rashi Kesarwani narrowly surpassing the 50% mark in first-choice votes for the District 1 seat, which would make her the race’s outright winner. Kesarwani’s lead when ranked-choice ballots are factored in now stands at 357 votes. County officials have tallied 5,750 votes in the race.
Attorney Mark Humbert declared victory late Thursday in the District 8 race, where he has held a commanding lead.
“Mark is truly grateful and humbled to be serving as your next councilmember,” read a message from “Team Mark Humbert” to his supporters. “Our team looks forward to continuing to hear from you as we roll up our sleeves and continue the work!”
Original story: The race for City Council District 1 remains tight more than a week after Election Day, but the narrow lead held by incumbent Rashi Kesarwani has been growing.
Meanwhile, the $650 million infrastructure and housing bond Measure L remains well short of the two-thirds majority support it needs to pass, and in Council District 8 attorney Mark Humbert is far ahead of his nearest challenger.
Election results posted late Wednesday show Kesarwani inching closer to winning the race outright, without an automatic runoff using the ranked-choice system, which is triggered when a candidate fails to win at least 50% of first-choice votes. Kesarwani has received 49.8% of first-choice votes counted so far, compared to Mikiten’s 42% and holistic health and disability advocate Tamar Michai Freeman’s 8.2%.
Kesarwani maintained a 257-vote lead over Mikiten after Alameda County officials counted Freeman supporters’ second-choice votes. Returns posted Monday showed Kesarwani had a 115-vote lead; her advantage in counts released last Thursday was less than 50 votes.
“With each successive update, our lead has grown and we feel confident in our position,” Kesarwani wrote in a statement Wednesday. “I look forward to all the ballots being counted.”
In a statement on her campaign website, Mikiten emphasized that the race is still close as votes are counted. As of Wednesday, county officials had tallied about 4,500 votes in District 1, where more than 8,000 ballots were cast in the 2018 election.
“I remain hopeful that I will have the privilege of representing District 1 on the Council next year,” Mikiten wrote. “If not, I will continue to work hard for you as head of our Planning Commission.”
Results show Humbert winning 66.6% of first-choice votes in District 1, this year’s only other contested City Council race, with Rent Board Commissioner Mendonca receiving 23.8%. Humbert said Wednesday that his lead is “really substantial and probably unassailable” but had not yet declared victory; Mendonca could not be reached for comment.
As for the bond Measure L, it continues to have support from a majority of voters but, at 57.4%, is a long way from clearing the two-thirds threshold. The yes side is comfortably ahead in results for the other two measures on this year’s Berkeley ballot, the vacant homes tax Measure M and an affordable housing authorization initiative Measure N.