“I'm Proud”: Libby Schaaf Wins Oakland Mayor Race

Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf claimed victory early this Wednesday morning in the city's 15-candidate mayoral race.

Schaaf had large leads over the other candidates. In the 15th round of ranked choice voting, she had 62 percent of the vote. City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan had 37 percent. Incumbent Mayor Jean Quan had 0 percent.

After 15 rounds of ranked-choice tabulation were run, Schaaf came out on top with 62.8 percent of the vote and Kaplan was second with 37.2 percent.

The ballots of at least several thousand vote-by-mail voters who dropped off their ballots at the polls on Election Day remain to be counted but Schaaf said in a phone interview early Wednesday that she believes her margin is safe.

Schaaf said, "I'm proud of the campaign we ran and the hundreds of volunteers who have a passion for Oakland and hope for their city. I'm proud that I ran a 100 percent positive, ethical and issues-based campaign" and said she plans to govern in the same way.

Schaaf said the endorsements she received late in the campaign from Gov. Jerry Brown, who lives in Oakland and used to be the city's mayor, and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer made a difference in the mayor's race.

She said she was "incredibly honored and grateful" to receive the endorsements.

Schaaf said her first priority as mayor will be to make the city safer by emphasizing fighting crime but she said she also wants Oakland to "deliver more responsive services to its residents."

Quan issued a statement Wednesday congratulating Schaff.

"I pledge to help carry that work forward and collaborate with the Mayor-elect," she said. "We will do everything we can to ensure a seamless transition as we rededicate ourselves to making Oakland a safer, more prosperous home for residents of every neighborhood."

Quan acknowledged in an interview before the election that she has "made mistakes" but said she thinks she is "a stronger mayor" now than she was when she took office in January 2011.

Quan said she began her term at "a very tough time" because Oakland faced a large budget deficit and other problems but she thinks she has turned the city around and things are going in the right direction now.

Quan said that among her accomplishments were balancing the city's budget, reducing the city's homicide rate to its lowest level in 15 years and helping the Oakland Police Department comply with most of the reforms that were mandated in the 2003 settlement of a police misconduct lawsuit.

Kaplan, who finished third in the 2010 election with 21 percent of the vote in the first round of voting and was the frontrunner in most pre-election polls, said Oakland has been budgeting for more public services, such as hiring more police officers and dispatchers and improving animal services, than the city has been receiving.

Kaplan said if she was elected she "would fix that immediately."

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