Rashi Kesarwani, Igor Tregub to head into instant run-off in Berkeley City Council District 1 race

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Rashi Kesarwani and Igor Tregub will enter into an instant run-off for the District 1 seat, after no candidate received the absolute majority with 100 percent of precincts reporting as of press time.

Kesarwani is leading in the race for the Berkeley City Council District 1 seat, receiving 46.14 percent of the vote. Tregub came in second with 34.34 percent. Fellow candidates Margo Schueler and Mary Behm-Steinberg received 14.21 and 5.28 percent, respectively.

Because no candidate gained the absolute majority in this ranked-choice voting race, ballots will be reevaluated in an instant run-off election. Second- and third-choice votes will be allocated to the leading candidates — Kesarwani and Tregub — until one comes out ahead with more than 50 percent support. Tregub said the outcome might take days or even weeks to be counted.

“I have profound respect for everyone who ran,” Tregub said. “It took an incredible amount of energy and time, and I think District 1 is lucky to have multiple candidates speak to its thousands of voters.”

District 1 encompasses large parts of West Berkeley, ranging from Milvia Street to the waterfront and spanning from north of Gilman Street to University Avenue in the south. Councilmember Linda Maio has represented the district for the past 26 years but decided not to run for reelection.

Kesarwani, Schueler and Behm-Steinberg could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Kesarwani ran on a platform of more affordable housing, greater community safety and improvements to city infrastructure, among other issues. She has also spoken out against the closure of the Alta Bates hospital and has worked on health care access in Berkeley as part of the Housing Advisory and Community Health commissions.

Tregub similarly campaigned on more affordable housing, improved public transportation and racial justice, among other issues. If elected, envisioning development around the North Berkeley BART station is one item at the top of his priority list.

Currently, Tregub is the chair of Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission, chair of the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board and a member of the city’s Rent Stabilization Board. While on the rent board, Tregub helped draft Berkeley’s Measure Q, which largely anticipated the passage of the statewide Proposition 10 — voted down by California voters Tuesday.

After speaking to volunteers on his campaign, Tregub has been waiting for results to roll in. At 8 p.m., Tregub said he went to a local bar to congratulate District 4 incumbent Kate Harrison on her promising early results. Nearing the end of the night, results for District 1 are still inconclusive.

“The registrar has done a wonderful job of doing everything, but there are still a number of ballots still needing to be counted,” Tregub said.

Contact Brandon Yung and Sophia Brown-Heidenreich at [email protected].