Home>Articles>Three Major Mayoral Races Still Have No Winner One Week After Election Day

Selective focus voting yes on California Gubernatorial Recall Election Ballot Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 10, 2021. (Photo: Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock)

Three Major Mayoral Races Still Have No Winner One Week After Election Day

Mayoral races in LA, Oakland, San Jose still too close to call

By Evan Symon, November 14, 2022 4:59 pm

Three of the largest mayoral races in California, as well as the entire country, remained undecided nearly a week after election day  as of Monday, with Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland likely to not have overall winners until late this month.

Democratic U.S. Representative Karen Bass at a Get Out The Vote rally for 2016 Hillary Clinton in Leimert Park Village Plaza a day before the California Primary. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

The largest race, by far, has been the LA race, with Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) running neck-to-neck with developer Rick Caruso. In what was once considered a “sure thing” by Bass supporters, the Congresswoman went from leading Caruso by 12 points in August, to only three points in early October due to multiple scandals, including an alleged bribery incident at USC. Caruso even took the lead late last month for a time following further hurdles for Bass, including high spending by the Caruso campaign and a video surfacing of Bass supporting scientology. With a final poll showing the two in a dead heat, the race was truly anyone’s on election day.

Caruso had the lead after election night, leading by several thousand votes 51%-49%. However, that lead shrank during the week as more ballots were counted, with Bass taking the lead during the weekend. As of Monday, Bass is currently up over Caruso by 9,400 votes with 67% of all votes in, 306,990 to 297,527. While there is still enough of a disparity that Caruso can retake the lead, the closeness of the race has already put many liberal Democrats in the city on edge, as the blowout election streak for top Democrat candidates in the last several elections in the city seems to have ended, potentially signaling a major change in political leanings in LA.

Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Rick Caruso speaks in a campaign event. Sept. 15, 2022. (Photo: Ringo Chiu, Shutterstock)

Out in Oakland, another contentious election has pitted several candidates against each other, including City Councilmembers Loren Taylor, Treva Reid and Sheng Thao, as well as former City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuenta and attorney Allyssa Victory.

While there are numerous candidates, the main dogfight has been between Taylor and Thao, with polls throughout the year showing them to be neck-to-neck. Locked in over issues such as crime, homelessness, affordable housing, gas prices, and the looming recession, neither Taylor nor Thao have managed to pull far away from each other, with black and Asian voters in particular coming out in support for Taylor and Thao respectively.

Results on election day only muddled the waters of who was winning further, with results remaining extremely close. As of Monday, when pared down by the ranked-choice voting method, Taylor is leading Thao by only a slight 53%-47% margin, with 22,240 votes against 19,475 and 120,000 ballots left in the County to count.

San Jose has also proven to be anyone’s election, with City Councilman Matt Mahan holding a slight lead over Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. The race, which was also very close throughout the election, was known as a sparring session for both candidates, with the largest issues of housing, homelessness and public safety, particularly combative for several months. Polls showed Mahan holding a tiny lead though, and the results have mirrored that.

The last count on Sunday showed Mahan ahead of Chavez 51% to 49%, with 103,241 votes coming up against 98,610 votes. While Mahan does hold the advantage, with Chavez needing a final wave of ballots in her favor to take the lead, enough votes remain out there on Monday to have no decided winner.

Close races across California

Closeness has been a major theme of Californian elections this year, with the undecided House races still up for grabs likely to decide which party gets control of the House, and a closer than expected Governor’s race putting Gavin Newsom down as the worst supported Democratic Governor candidate in California since 2010, despite the swift victory on election day. But for the major Mayoral races to still be undecided this late after election day is unusual, with experts noting that the issues in California, such as crime and homelessness, have played a larger factor than they have nationwide, where issues like abortion and inflation were major concerns.

“Californians worry about inflation and abortion rights too. That isn’t the issue,” explained  Jan Ives, a Washington-based local election analyst, to the Globe on Monday. “It’s that crime really impacted a lot of elections. Homelessness impacted a lot of elections. Candidates having different solutions impacted elections there more. Money was big in California. It was a bit of a shock on Tuesday to see that the red wave wasn’t happening as thought, but as we see in California, it kind of has had a larger impact.

“And that includes these mayoral races. Predictions early on showed Bass and Taylor coming out with huge victories, and Chavez eking it out in San Jose. But look at what has happened. The Bass campaign has been thoroughly embarrassed, with even a win now still being a loss since they might have just fractured Democrats in LA for a long time to come as a result, helped in part by the recording scandal. Oakland, at a crossroads of being a historically black city and something more diverse, has seen the split in the Mayoral election. And San Jose has just been a shootout.

“No matter what happens in these races, everyone will have lost in at least some way. And for a state where Democrats pride themselves on unity and being a ‘big blue’ nationally, it is very concerning for them.”

Votes for the three undecided races are expected to be called for in the next few weeks, barring a recount.

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11 thoughts on “Three Major Mayoral Races Still Have No Winner One Week After Election Day

  1. I don’t get it. In the L.A. Mayor Bass-Caruso race, local news is also reporting Bass as having gained thousands of votes today. But the SOS “unprocessed ballots report” from today, Monday, 11/14/22, for L.A. County, while indicating it was indeed updated today, shows the exact same numbers of uncounted County ballots (totaling 1,006,300) as was shown four days ago on 11/10/22. Why does today’s report show “update 11/14” but NO reduction in the number of unprocessed ballots?

    1. The SOS website, like just about everything else in CA, is broken.
      For what it’s worth (and it really should matter), write Ms. Weber and anyone else in a position of power and complain.
      This whole thing reeks.

      1. Thanks, Bminks, although this is only one snapshot of all that is wrong with the process in L.A. County, I thought it was a good example. But yes, I will be sending this observation, with documentation, to my County Supervisor (who is the only sane one) and to EIPCa (Election Integrity Project CA), for what it’s worth. It strikes me though that notifying SOS Weber would be as pointless as notifying Gavin Newsom and would likely only serve to put us on their radar.

    1. Very good question indeed. Other races (e.g. governor), far earlier on with a big chunk of votes still uncounted, were called. But not this one.

      1. The implications are CLEAR. Democrats believe that NO REPUBLICAN LEAD in California is INSURMOUNTABLE. Why – because the system is RIGGED?

      2. Reasonable suspicions of fraud and funny business and all of that aside, this start/stop dribbling of vote counts and inexplicable numbers (e.g. the amazing Sheriff Villanueva being trampled by a super-annoying leftist, Robert Luna) serves the purpose of taking the wind out of voters’ sails. This is NOT NOTHING, it’s an important goal of our adversaries; one of many. It is enervating, frustrating, fatiguing, deflating. The hope of the Dems is that voters will drop out, give up, no longer participate, move, as their suspicions and cynicism increase. This is what I mean by “engineered low-voter turnout,” which has consistently reared its ugly head over the last many years.

  2. Update from the Kiley campaign: “The race has just been called in our favor! And with our victory, Republicans have now won 218 seats. That means our campaign secured a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.”

    I would surmise that Kevin Kiley’s victory that put the Republicans over the top is at least a “poke in the eye” to Gavin and auntie Nancy. One of the most vocal critics of Newsom and Pelosi in the California legislature will be ready to expose all of Newsom’s horrible actions as governor when Gavin makes his POTUS run. 😉

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