Mayor Ed Lee unofficially declared victory Wednesday afternoon after new ranked-choice voting tallies were posted by the San Francisco election department. He declared the victory "wonderful."
"It's wonderful to represent so many diverse communities and then to know that your work is welcome," Lee said. He had to stop himself because he was overcome with emotion.
The new numbers show Lee now has 61-percent of the vote. He just needs 50.1-percent to win.
It took 11 rounds of ranked choice voting before Lee moved past the required 50 percent mark.
He told supporters and gathered media at city hall that his wife has already given him permission to stay a little later at the office each night. Lee, the former city administrator, was named interim mayor when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom became lieutenant governor back in January.
Lee finished ahead of San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos who received 39 percent of the vote.
Avalos said told KCBS radio he is going to wait before officially conceding. He said there are still too many votes to count to be sure Lee is the winner.
Wednesday's new vote count was still unofficial with some 32,000 ballots remaining to be counted. There were also another 7,500 provisional ballots that will have to be counted. While Wednesday's ranked-choice count was unofficial, similar results have held up in the past.
Appointed District Attorney George Gascon appears to have won a full four-year term in office while Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was on his way to becoming San Francisco's new sheriff.
Department of Elections director John Arntz said about 25,000 vote-by-mail ballots still ahve to be counted, as well as about 7,500 provisional ballots. Arntz said those votes should be counted by the end of the weekend
The Bay Area Council was among the first to congratulate Lee on his win, pointing out he is the first Chinese American to win election to the City’s highest elected office.
“In just a short time, Mayor Lee has shown the steady hand and inclusive leadership that San Francisco voters want and that the City needs in order to tackle the difficult economic and other challenges confronting us," said Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman
The new numbers also show:
Department of Election director John Arntz said the voter turnout will eventually reach around 41 percent once all the votes are tallied.
The number is well below 52 percent, which is what voter turnout was in San Francisco's last mayoral election in 2007.
Updated totals in the races are expected to be released Thursday at 4 p.m.