With 61.2% of the votes after eleven rounds of preliminary ranked-choice results, Ed Lee (unofficially) wins the San Francisco Mayor's race, making him the city's first elected Asian-American Mayor. John Avalos, who was in second place following last night's first round of voting, finished with 38.8% of the total 157,000 votes counted by the department of elections so far.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera, in third after Tuesday night's polling, never captured more than 23% of the votes.
Under the ranked-choice voting system, it took Mayor Lee 11 rounds (the maximum possible in this election) to achieve more than a 50% majority. The majority of second- and third-choice votes that transferred to Mayor Lee came from conservative leaning candidates Tony Hall and Michela Alioto-Pier as well as fellow Asian-American candidates Leland Yee and David Chiu. Roughly 6,000 of Chiu's nearly 20,000 votes went to Ed Lee in the Ninth round of instant runoffs.
Stay tuned for updates as we dig through the lastest info from the Department of Elections.
Update: Keep in mind these results are released as an unofficial count of the ranked-choice votes based on the most recent tally. As the city's election director John Arntz explains to the Chronicle, these results have "typically held up in the past", but there are still roughly 32,000 outstanding ballots, including 24,000 mail-ins that arrived or were turned in at the polls yesterday. The Department of Elections does not officially certify the decision until December 6th.
Still, it is a safe bet to say you can go ahead and cue your "moving to the East Bay" quips now, wonks.
Update 5:15 p.m: Cue also: the concession letters from the other frontrunners. In an emailed press release, Chiu describes his reaction this afternoon:
I called Ed Lee this afternoon to congratulate him on his election as our next Mayor... Today, I am as ready as ever to work with the Mayor - as well as with my colleagues at the Board of Supervisors and the thousands of dedicated public servants in city government - to give San Franciscans the government they deserve.
Update 5:30 p.m: And another emailed statement from the Herrera campaign:
I congratulate Mayor-elect Ed Lee on his well-earned victory in the San Francisco Mayor's race. Mayor Lee truly distinguished himself in an outstanding field of dedicated public servants. Together, we all took part in spirited debates about the future of San Francisco, and I'm confident that our shared commitment to the City we love will enable all of us to work together effectively, now that voters have spoken.
Update 5:50 p.m: John Avalos, still hoping for an upset in those uncounted ballots, responded to the announcements via Facebook message:
Friends: While today's unofficial RCV showed Ed Lee winning in the 11th round, over 31,000 ballots have yet to be counted. The Department of Elections plans to count through the weekend, and we won't have updated results until next week. We had the hottest part in town, and we continue to rise. This is not over yet!!