Loren Taylor conceded to Mayor-elect Sheng Thao during an emotional press conference at Liberation Park in East Oakland on Tuesday.
Thao, a UC Berkeley alum who has described struggling with poverty in her youth, will succeed outgoing Mayor Libby Schaaf after winning 50.3% of the ranked choice vote to Taylor’s 49.7%.
She congratulated Taylor on a “strong campaign,” saying he and his family “have been making a difference for this city for generations and we owe him a real debt of gratitude.”
Taylor, flocked by several dozen supporters, some holding campaign signs, spoke to the press in his District 6 stomping ground, where he served as a city councilmember for he past four years.
“Ranked choice voting, as it is, is not working,” Taylor said, likening the process to “voter suppression.”
The problem, he argued, is so-called exhausted ballots, which are cast by voters who ranked candidates other than him as their top 5 choices, which meant their votes could not be transferred to him.
Although he lost by a very small margin, Taylor said at the conference that he won’t pursue a recount of the votes, but added: “Any registered voter in Oakland can ask for a recount and fund it… if Oakland residents decide to pursue this course of action, we should not object.”
Taylor congratulated Thao on the phone, saying the city must move forward together.
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