Mayor Tom Bates re-elected for fourth term; council remains unchanged

Michael Ball/Staff
Michael Ball/Staff
Michael Ball/Staff

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Mayor Tom Bates was re-elected with about 55 percent of the vote, all local election polling results reported in a little past midnight Tuesday.

This will be the fourth term for Bates, who first took office in 2002. Along with Bates’ victory, the council also saw a unanimous re-election of incumbents.

“On a local level, it’s not going quite so well, and I’m a realist,” said mayoral candidate and Councilmember Kriss Worthington. “I was very sad I lost the mayor’s race.”

Despite Bates’ victory, mayoral candidate Jacquelyn McCormick said she was satisfied with her campaign’s efforts.

“I don’t regret one minute,” McCormick said. “I don’t regret one decision we made … we proved that this community can work together. It’s a good start.”

Bates, a veteran East Bay politician, has been mayor of Berkeley since 2002. Prior to holding his current office, Bates served 20 years in the California State Assembly.

Though Bates easily won elections in the last 10 years, this election could have presented a new threat to the incumbent in the form of ranked-choice voting.

Under ranked-choice, voters rank candidates from one to three. If one candidate does not garner more than 50 percent of first-rank votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The second- and third-rank votes of the removed candidate are then distributed to the remaining candidates until one receives a majority.

The new voting system, which the city adopted in 2010, was implemented for the first time in a mayoral race this year. But based on polling results, ranked-choice voting did not have much of an impact in this race, as Bates accrued the 50 percent necessary among first-rank votes.

Hoping to unseat the incumbent, Worthington, McCormick and middle school teacher Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi had formed what Jacobs-Fantauzzi described as a “Progressive Alliance.”

“I’m disappointed because I believe we need new leadership in Berkeley, and it looks like there’s not going to be any change at all,” McCormick said.

Nonetheless, Bates was successful on a campaign touting his experience and contributions throughout the city under his watch — pointing to Berkeley’s bond ratings, economic revitalization Downtown and affordable housing.

However, Bates has previously said that he expects this fourth term to be his last elected office.

Although Bates lead in polling numbers, some of the ballot measures he supports have failed to pass, including the controversial Measures S and T. Still, Bates remains thankful for the victories he has won.

“It’s really a great privilege to have the opportunity to be the mayor of the city of Berkeley,” said Bates at a speech to his supporters earlier in the day. “We don’t always agree on all things, obviously, but it’s a terrific opportunity to be able to continue the service for the people of Berkeley.”

Yet, many candidates said that despite Bates’ victory, a lot of work can still be done in Berkeley.

“The status quo is not good enough,” Worthington said. “It doesn’t give back the values of Berkeley … even though Tom Bates is getting re-elected, I think the defeat of his controversial (measures) is a giant victory in it of itself.”

With Bates’ re-election, results for council races were also overwhelmingly advantageous to incumbents. Below are the results for other council seats up for re-election: 

District 2: Darryl Moore

Darryl Moore will be re-elected, defeating opponents Denisha DeLane and Adolfo Cabral with about 60 percent of the vote.

“I think it’s important that we do something in West Berkeley that’s gonna create and attract businesses,” Moore said.

With no council member unseated, Moore said it shows that “(the council is) headed in the right direction,” especially praising Mayor Tom Bates’ leadership.

District 3: Max Anderson

Incumbent Max Anderson received about 60 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Dmitri Belser. As a council member, Anderson has been active in addressing public health and crime issues within the city. Anderson has a background as a registered nurse.

District 5: Laurie Capitelli

Polling results show Councilmember Laurie Capitelli with a 54 percent lead over Sophie Hahn. This year saw a repeat of 2008, when Capitelli defeated Hahn by a very slim margin. Capitelli pledged to continue work on revitalizing the city’s commercial districts and dedicate the city to a transparent budget.

District 6: Susan Wengraf

Councilmember Susan Wengraf has been re-elected to represent District 6. She ran unopposed

Contact Jaehak Yu and Daphne Chen at [email protected].