(KRON) — After extending her lead in the Oakland mayor’s race Monday night, progressive city councilmember Sheng Thao declared victory the race to be Oakland’s next mayor.
According to numbers released Monday by Alameda County, Thao, the President Pro Tem of the Oakland City Council, is leading in the ranked choice race with 50.30% of the vote, clinging to a narrow lead over moderate Loren Taylor at 49.70%.
The percentages for the two frontrunning candidates remain unchanged from last week, although more votes have been tallied and each candidate has picked up several hundred new votes in the count.
Thao declared herself the winner, issuing a statement in which she referred to herself as “Oakland Mayor-Elect.”
“It’s been a long journey, and I’m incredibly honored by the trust the voters have placed in me. This was a very close election. I want to congratulate Loren Taylor on the strong campaign he ran. Councilmember Taylor and his family have been making a difference for this city for generations and we owe him a real debt of gratitude,” said Thao. “I hope to speak with Councilmember Taylor in the days ahead to find ways to work together for the good of our city.”
I’m very excited to get to work as Mayor in January, but I’m also very humbled to be here. 15 years ago, I was living in my car with my baby. I’ve been through a lot to get to this moment, and have had so many people lift me up in order to get here,” she added.
Loren Taylor conceded the race Tuesday morning, bringing his 14-month long campaign to an end from Liberation Park in East Oakland.
“I cannot simply stand by as a kid from Oakland and watch as my town went down a direction I don’t think we should be going,” Taylor said. “That’s what led me to forego a career in corporate America and become a councilmember for District 6.”
That need also led him to “give up my safe seat on the city council” to run for mayor, he said.
“We centered Oaklanders and their interests over non-Oakland interests,” he said. “We delivered both/and solutions instead of either/or excuses that divide and separate us.”
Taylor received the highest number of first-place votes; still, “it wasn’t enough to overcome the significant headwinds that we faced,” he said.
He blamed being outspent, and photoshops of him he called racist.
“I felt and feel the same emotions you feel today,” he said to his supporters. “All of these emotions are merely amplified by the close nature of this race, that small margin. … I do not see a viable path to making up the 682 votes needed to alter the outcome of this election.
Taylor said he extended his congratulations to Thao and his assistance “because we cannot allow our city to fail.”
Taylor said he will not be leading a re-count effort, though others may do so.
Taylor took to Twitter on Monday to congratulate Thao, tweeting, “I’d like to formally congratulate Sheng Thao on her successful victory in the race to be Oakland’s next mayor.”
Congratulations began coming in for Thao with State Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-CA, tweeting, “A huge congratulations to Sheng Thao, Oakland’s next mayor, who I know will spend every day working non-stop for every Oaklander!”
Tuesday will mark two full weeks since the 2022 midterm election with the Oakland mayoral race remaining one of the last major outstanding undecided races in the Bay Area. Earlier on Monday, Pamela Price declared victory in the Alameda County District Attorney’s race with the latest count seeing her holding a strong lead at 53.14% of the vote to Terry Wiley’s 46.86%.