San Francisco interim Mayor Ed Lee is leading the mayor's race after all of the first-place votes were counted Tuesday night, but he did not reach the 50 percent mark, so the city's ranked-choice voting system will decide the race.
Lee received about 31 percent of the vote, while Supervisor John Avalos had about 19 percent, City Attorney Dennis Herrera had about 11 percent, and Board of Supervisors David Chiu had about 9 percent, according to complete unofficial election results.
San Francisco's ranked-choice system allows voters to rank up to three candidates. If no one reaches a majority, candidates with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone gets to at least 50 percent.
Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Lee's campaign, said "we're going to respect the ranked-choice process and make sure every vote is counted, but every sign points to an insurmountable lead."
Winnicker said Lee and the campaign are feeling "very confident and very good."
Also pleased with Tuesday night's numbers was Avalos' campaign, spokeswoman Erica Fox said.
"We're excited," Fox said. "It was great to see the numbers go up each time more votes are counted, and we expect to see those numbers continue to climb as we go through the process of ranked-choice."
David Latterman, a University of San Francisco lecturer on politics, said Lee's lead will be hard to overcome.
"I don't see how any single candidate will be able to overtake him," Latterman said. "But never say never in this business, and I learned this last year."
He is referring to the 2010 mayor's race across the Bay in Oakland, where former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata had 35 percent of the vote on election night compared to 24 percent for then-City Councilwoman Jean Quan.
However, after several rounds of ranked-choice voting, Quan overtook Perata to become mayor.
Lee, who was appointed interim mayor in January when Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor, has been the perceived frontrunner in the race ever since he announced his candidacy in August after initially pledging not to run.
Turnout was low for the election, with less than 31 percent of the city's 464,000-plus registered voters filling out ballots.
The city's Department of Elections will release updated results in the race at 4 p.m. today.
Veteran City Councilman Alan Nagy will be Newark's first new mayor in 33 years, easily winning a three-candidate contest to replace David Smith, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.
Nagy received 46.2 percent of the vote, City Councilwoman Ana Apodaca received 32.5 percent and school board member Ray Rodriguez got 21.4 percent.
Nagy, 70, has served on the City Council since 1980, which was two years after Smith was first elected.
He says financial stability, public safety and quality of life are the issues he will stress as mayor.
Longtime Newark resident and business owner Maria "Sucy" Collazo topped the five-candidate race for two seats on the City Council, getting 32.9 percent of the vote, and incumbent Luis Freitas kept his post by finishing a close second with 32.3 percent.
Mike Bucci finished third with 15.4 percent, Jack Dane was fourth with 10.6 percent, and Richard Bensco was fifth with 8.7 percent.
Newark voters narrowly approved Measure G, a $63 million bond measure to upgrade the city's aging schools.
The measure got 55.8 percent of the vote, just above the 55 percent total needed for approval, according to unofficial numbers.
In Livermore, City Councilman John Marchand was the top vote-getter, with 47.8 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for community activist Barbara Hickman.
But the race is too close to call because Marchand only leads Hickman by 225 votes and Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald said about 1,000 mail-in ballot still have to be counted.
College student Minuete McKernan finished a distant third with 6.2 percent of the vote.
Livermore parks district board member Laureen Turner and former Fire Chief Stu Gary were elected to the City Council, with 28 percent and 26.5 percent of the vote, respectively.
Air Force veteran and credit union marketing officer Bobby Burger finished third with 23.2 percent and outgoing Mayor Marshall Kamena finished fourth with 22.2 percent.
In Emeryville, University of California at Berkeley lecturer and first-time candidate Jacqueline Asher topped a five-candidate field running for three seats with 27 percent of the vote.
Incumbents Nora Davis and Ruth Atkin were re-elected with 25.3 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
However, veteran City Councilman Ken Bukowski, who was fined by the state for misusing campaign funds, finished out of the money in fourth place with only 13.2 percent of the vote. Commercial real estate attorney Michael Webber finished fifth with 9.5 percent.
Emeryville voters also overwhelmingly rejected a measure supported by Bukowski, Measure F, which would have called for the city to contract out for legal services instead of having a city attorney.
The City Council's four other members all opposed the measure and it lost by a margin of 65.3 percent opposed and 34.7 percent in favor.
However, Emeryville voters approved two measures that will slightly increase the city's revenues from business license fees.
Measure C, which will increase the tax rate from 0.08 percent of gross receipts to 0.10 percent, won with 81 percent in favor and 19 percent against.
The measure also will require Pixar Studios to once again pay the tax, which it had stopped doing after Disney acquired it in 2006.
Measure D, which will increase the annual cap on the business tax from $117,000 to $300,000, was approved by a margin of 79.4 percent to 20.6 percent.
Voters in San Ramon Tuesday chose two newcomers as the city's new mayor and city council member, as well as one incumbent to fill another vacant council seat.
Small business owner Bill Clarkson, 59, defeated Carol Rowley, an educator who has worked as a teacher and principal at Country Club Elementary School. She has been on the San Ramon City Council for eight years.
Clarkson emphasized bringing new ideas and a fresh vision to the city's leadership during his campaign, and in his candidate statement, said "city government should spend more time talking with residents than it currently does."
He received 57 percent of the vote compared to Rowley's 42 percent, according to complete unofficial election figures.
Another newcomer, medical director Phil O'Loane, 53, won a San Ramon City Council seat with 33 percent of the vote. In his candidate statement, the longtime San Ramon resident said he would prioritize public safety if elected.
San Ramon City Councilman Scott Perkins, the only incumbent in the race, secured his spot on the council with 38.5 percent voter support Tuesday. Currently serving his eighth year on the council, Perkins emphasized his background as a financial manager with experience overseeing budgets up to $130 million.
O'Loane and Clarkson won out over current San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson, who has served as mayor since 2002 and on the City Council since 1999.
Sunnyvale voters elected three new council members and one incumbent and passed one of two measures, according to preliminary election results Tuesday night.
Pat Meyering, an attorney and college instructor, defeated Bo Chang, 41, a small business owner, by 1,054 votes with 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial figures.
In a narrower race, Jim Davis, 59, a public safety officer, beat opponents Jack Walker, an engineering project manager and former council member, and Steve Hoffman, 47, a chief executive officer, with 38 percent of the vote.
In another neck-and-neck race, Tara Martin-Milius, a teacher, bested Fred Fowler, 54, a corporate vice president and former mayor, and Maria Alice Pan, a community volunteer, with 46 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Councilman David Whittum, 50, was re-elected with 10, 974 votes.
Measure B, which will amend the city charter to delete the current automatic 5 percent annual cost-of-living increase in council salaries and reduce future council compensation increases, passed by a landslide 89 percent of the vote.
Defeated, however, was Measure B, a proposed charter amendment that would change Sunnyvale's method of choosing a mayor to a direct election by voters instead of the current method where the city council selects one of its members by majority vote as mayor for a two-year term.
Incumbent city council members were re-elected in seven out of nine council races in San Mateo County cities on Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the elections division.
San Carlos City Councilman Randy Royce, who was first elected in 2007, lost his re-election bid for one of two available seats on the five-member council, garnering 31 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
San Carlos School District board member Mark Olbert and 30-year resident Ron Collins were elected with 35 percent and 34 percent of the vote, respectively.
Brisbane Mayor Cyril Bologoff also failed to win re-election to either of two open seats in his city, according to preliminary numbers.
Challenger Ray Miller was elected with 40 percent of the vote, and Terry O'Connell won the second open seat with 33 percent.
Belmont City Councilwoman Christine Wozniak narrowly won re-election to the five-member council in her city, winning just 14 more votes than her closest challenger, Eric Reed, according to complete unofficial results.
Belmont incumbent David Braunstein easily won re-election with 36 percent of the vote.
In Redwood City, four incumbent City Council members -- Rosanne Foust, Ian Bain, Barbara Pierce and Alicia Aguirre -- were re-elected to four open seats on the seven-member council.
Foster City City Councilman Art Kiesel was re-elected to one of three open seats on the five-member council, winning 21 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.
Retired financial consultant Steve Okamoto and small business owner Herb Perez were elected to the remaining two open seats, with 22 and 18 percent of the vote, respectively.
Raymond Buenaventura was re-elected to his seat on the City Council of Daly City, according to preliminary numbers.
Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel and City Councilman Jerry Deal were re-elected to third and second terms, respectively.
South San Francisco Mayor Kevin Mullin and incumbent City Councilman Richard Garbarino were also re-elected, with each winning more than 40 percent of the vote in their city.
Millbrae Vice Mayor Marge Colapietro was elected to serve a second term in one of three open council seats.
Wayne Lee and Robert Gottschalk were elected to the two remaining open posts, with Gottschalk edging out his closest competitor, Anne Oliva, by just 16 votes, according to unofficial results.
San Francisco's sheriff's race remains up in the air after the initial round of ranked-choice voting in Tuesday's election, with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi holding a narrow lead over two challengers.
Mirkarimi received about 38 percent of the first-place votes in the election, compared to about 28 percent for former undersheriff Chris Cunnie and 27 percent for sheriff's Capt. Paul Miyamoto, according to complete unofficial election results.
The candidates are running to become San Francisco's first new sheriff in 32 years, replacing outgoing Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who announced earlier this year that he was not running for re-election.
Cunnie and Miyamoto have touted their law enforcement experience in the race while Mirkarimi, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2004, has the support of Hennessey, an outsider when he began overseeing the department.
David Latterman, a lecturer on politics for University of San Francisco, said Mirkarimi is in good position to become sheriff after Tuesday's first round of the ranked-choice voting process.
San Francisco's system allows voters to rank up to three candidates. If no one reaches a majority, candidates with the lowest first-place vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone gets to at least 50 percent.
"It's going be hard to unseat (Mirkarimi), but it's possible if every other candidate was adamant that no one else should vote for him," Latterman said.
Whoever takes over as sheriff will have to deal with new state legislation that went into effect last month moving certain offenders from state to county jurisdiction.
Under the new realignment law, people convicted in San Francisco of nonviolent, non-serious offenses -- as well as adult parolees and juvenile offenders -- are now being overseen by the county, an estimated additional load of up to 700 offenders.
The city's Department of Elections is expected to release updated results in the race at 4 p.m. today.
Six measures were decided by less than five percentage points, but nine of the 12 ballot measures in San Mateo County passed, according to unofficial results released Tuesday.
Measure H, which would have provided county community colleges with renovation funds, failed to get the necessary 55 percent of the vote to pass, finishing with an unofficial count of 52.75 percent in the 440 precincts.
If passed, it would provide $564 million in bonds to construct and upgrade classrooms at the three county campuses -- College of San Mateo, Canada College, and Skyline College -- by adding $12.90 annually to each $100,000 in assessed properties, according to official estimates.
Three of the four school district measures have initially passed with the exception of Measure O, which would have given the San Bruno Unified School District with $186 million in funds to help pay off district debts, fund classroom projects and finance a new continuation school.
Less than five percentage points decided the four school measures.
Measure E's educational parcel tax was passed with just more than the two-thirds vote needed. The funds will go to the San Bruno Elementary School District.
Measure N, the Millbrae School District bond measure, passed with 58 percent of the votes. Measure L, a Pacifica School District parcel tax, also passed with 68.7 percent of the votes, just getting over the needed two-thirds vote.
Foster City and Redwood City each passed a transient occupancy tax, Measure P and Measure I, respectively. Foster City will raise the tax on hotel guests from 8 percent to 9.5 percent and Redwood City will add a 10 percent tax to hotel guests.
A general plan and municipal code amendment, Measure G, in San Mateo narrowly failed to pass, only earning 48 percent of the simple majority needed to pass.
Redwood City passed a new business license tax, Measure M, with 55 percent of the vote.
Menlo Park passed a fire protection district appropriation limit, Measure F, with 76.8 percent. Brisbane passed Measure J, imposing a new business license tax, with a 77 percent approval.
Redwood City approved a charter amendment, Measure L, with a convincing 61 percent vote.
Measures F, J, L and M each needed a simple majority to pass.
Voters in Contra Costa County appear to have approved two out of three ballot measures put before them in Tuesday's election, according to complete unofficial election results.
Pittsburg voters approved two ballot measures meant to bring the city more revenue and allow for additional development.
Voters in Pittsburg overwhelmingly approved Measure H, which will boost the city's hotel tax from 8 percent to up to 12 percent to help support a range of municipal services, from police services and youth facilities to parks and recreational services. The measure was approved by 78 percent of voters.
The tax will be paid by mostly out-of-town hotel guests staying in Pittsburg and funneled into the city's general fund.
Measure I also passed easily Tuesday, according to complete unofficial numbers, with 78 percent of voters approving the measure, which will extend the city's urban limit line and allow the city to develop 193 acres of unincorporated land straddling the Pittsburg-Antioch border.
Under the measure, the city's general plan will be updated to allow for high-density residential development on the 193 acres, lifting the city's previous building limit of three housing units per acre in that area.
Voters in Lafayette rejected Measure G, which would have collected $89 yearly from each housing unit to complete a city project to revamp roads and drains.
Fifty-seven percent of voters backed the special parcel tax, falling short of the two-thirds supermajority vote needed to pass, according to unofficial numbers.
Opponents of the measure have called it an attempt to tax residents for services the city should already provide.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon appears set to hold onto his seat although he did not reach a majority in the initial round of the ranked-choice voting process in Tuesday's election.
Gascon had more than 42 percent of the votes, compared to about 23 percent for criminal justice scholar David Onek and 21 percent for Alameda County prosecutor Sharmin Bock, according to complete unofficial election results.
Because Gascon did not reach 50 percent, the race will now be decided by San Francisco's ranked-choice system, which allows voters to rank up to three candidates.
Candidates with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone gets to at least 50 percent.
"We feel good about the numbers, but we'll wait until the final returns come in," Gascon's campaign spokeswoman Maggie Muir said. "We never take anything for granted."
Gascon was previously San Francisco's police chief but has headed the district attorney's office since January, when he was appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom after Kamala Harris was elected as the state's attorney general.
Gascon's opponents in the race have criticized him for his lack of prosecutorial experience and perceived conflicts of interest in cases involving the Police Department that he previously oversaw.
The city's Department of Elections will release updated results in the race at 4 p.m. today.
Marin County voters returned eight incumbents to office in six council races but denied San Rafael Vice Mayor Greg Brockbank's bid to be the city's mayor, according to unofficial figures Tuesday night.
Gary Phillips, 66, a partner in an accounting firm and a former councilman, defeated Brockbank, 59, an attorney, by 1,125 votes with 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial figures.
Phillips will take the reins from Mayor Al Boro, who was first elected mayor in 1991.
San Rafael Councilman and attorney Damon Connolly was re-elected, and Andrew McCullough, also an attorney, was elected to the other seat on the city council. They defeated Samantha Sargent and Whitney Hoyt.
Novato voters returned Mayor Madeline Kellner and Jeanne MacLeamy to the City Council. Eric Lucan, a member of the Recreation, Cultural and Community Services Commission, was elected to the third available seat on the council. Four other candidates unsuccessfully vied for the three seats on the council.
Fourth place finisher Leslie Schwarze trailed Kellner by 86 votes, according to unofficial figures.
Mayor Alexandra Cock and Vice Mayor Bob Ravasio were re-elected to the Corte Madera Town Council.
Mayor Larry Bragman was re-elected and Ryan O'Neal was elected to the Fairfax Town Council.
Mayor Larry Chu was re-elected and Ann Morrison was elected to the Larkspur City Council.
Mayor Ford Greene was re-elected and Lori Lopin was elected to the San Anselmo Town Council.
All eight measures on the Marin County ballot appear to have passed, according to unofficial election results late Tuesday night.
The narrowest margin of victory belongs to Measure G, a 10-cent per square foot tax hike for fire services in the Marinwood Community Services District. It needs two-thirds approval and had 66.79 percent approval.
Corte Madera voters handily approved Measure C, a continuation for four years of a special $60 annual parcel tax for paramedic services. The Town Council could increase the tax to $75 over the four years. It also needed two-thirds approval and garnered 82 percent as of late Tuesday night.
Mayor Alexander Cock and Council members Bob Ravasio, Carla Condon and Diane Furst said the special tax has been overwhelmingly approved since 1983 and has given the town one of the best paramedic services and shortest response times in Marin County.
Without the tax, advanced life support services provided by the town's fire department would be in jeopardy, supporters said.
The tax increase over four years from $60 to $75 compares favorably to paramedic taxes in Novato and San Rafael, town officials said.
Fairfax voters approved Measure D, a half-cent sales tax to offset state budget cuts and declining property tax revenue. The tax will expire in 2017.
Measure D needed majority approval and received 64 percent.
Proponents said the tax hike is needed because property tax revenues are down and pension costs are rising.
Town officials including Mayor Larry Bragman and Vice Mayor Pam Hartwell-Herrero say the town has frozen salaries, increased pension cost sharing by employees and implemented a two-tier system to reduce pension benefits.
Despite those efforts, town officials said the tax hike is needed to balance the budget and avoid severe cuts in public safety and public works services.
Visitors as well as Fairfax residents will pay the sales tax hike, officials said.
Tax hike opponents claimed "unwarranted" pay raises were given to the town manager and senior staff, and unsustainable lifetime health and pension benefits costing taxpayers $980,000 were approved between 2006 and 2009.
In the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, 70 percent of voters approved Measure A, a $26 million bond issue, and voters in the Tamalpais Union High School District appear to have narrowly approved Measure B, a renewal of a parcel tax for 10 years starting July 1.
Measure B needs two-thirds of the vote and had 72 percent late Tuesday night.
Measure E, an increase in an annual paramedic special services tax from $85 to $95 per parcel, had 75 percent approval, and Measure F, a similar tax hike in the Santa Venetia-Bayside Acres Fire District, was leading with 73 percent approval. Both measures require two-thirds approval.
Voters in the Inverness Public Utility District approved Measure H, an increase in the appropriations limit to include all combined revenue through fiscal year 2014-2015.
It received 96 percent approval and required a majority vote.
Solano County voters Tuesday appear to have elected mostly incumbents and a few newcomers to various city councils and approved a local measure that imposes a tax on marijuana businesses to provide for city services while defeating a measure that would have raised a citywide sales tax.
In Fairfield, one newcomer and one incumbent appear to have been chosen by a slim margin over incumbent candidate Rick Vaccaro, a former high school principal and three-year councilman.
Pam Bertani, 47, a patent attorney, won a City Council seat Tuesday with 27 percent of the vote, according to complete unofficial election results. Trailing just behind with 26.6 percent voter support, 56-year-old Fairfield Vice Mayor and retired policeman Chuck Timm was also apparently elected Tuesday.
Benicia voters Tuesday appear to have narrowly re-elected incumbent Mayor Elizabeth Patterson with 50.9 percent of the vote, defeating the city's current vice mayor, Alan Schwartzman, who received 48 percent of voter support.
Benicia City Councilman Tom Campbell handily secured his council seat with 37 percent of the vote. Benicia voters also elected a newcomer to the council, small business owner Christina Strawbridge, with 30.9 percent.
Vallejo voters also chose an incumbent, re-electing Mayor Osby Davis, who has served as mayor for four years. Davis received 51.5 percent of the vote Tuesday compared to rival candidate Joanne Schivley, a three-term councilwoman, who got 47 percent of votes.
The mayor has said that despite reduced city services in Vallejo because of the economic downturn, he has helped balance the city budget and add to its reserve.
In the Vallejo City Council race, voters appear to have re-elected incumbent Erin Hannigan, who received just 14 votes more than newcomer Bob Sampayan, a retired police officer who also earned a spot on the council, according to unofficial figures.
Voters appear to have chosen newcomer Robert McConnell, a bankruptcy attorney, to fill the third open seat.
Measure C, which will impose a tax on local marijuana businesses to support a wide range of city services, apparently passed by a landslide in Vallejo Tuesday with 76 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election numbers.
Vallejo voters appear to have rejected a second ballot measure by just 64 votes. Measure B would have allowed the city to collect a 1 percent sales tax to support a wide range of city services.