Wynn Hausser conceded defeat today in the race for a seat on Palo Alto's school board.
After a neck-and-neck finish in Tuesday's election with incumbent Camille Townsend, Hausser was still short the necessary votes for third place today as ballot counting continued.
"It is clear to me that while we came very close, the certified tally will leave me short," he wrote in e-mail to supporters.
Townsend had 6,731 votes and Hausser had 6,549 as of this afternoon, a 182-vote gap.
The Tuesday election was for three seats on the school board, two being vacated by members Mandy Lowell and Gail Price, who have served two terms.
The election showed a clear victory for Barbara Klausner and Melissa Baten Caswell, who received 11,732 and 8,067 votes respectively.
But Townsend maintained only a small lead above Wynn Hausser from Tuesday night onwards, which began at 262 votes and narrowed to 177 before increasing by five this afternoon.
There are fewer than 1,000 ballots left to be counted from Palo Alto, according to Elma Rosas of the County Registrar of Voters office.
It could take up to 21 days to count them all because they are provisional ballots that require fact-checking, she said.
He'd accept a seat if the count somehow ended up in his favor but conceding today gave closure to himself and supporters, Hausser said.
"If the registrar were to find a boatload or a basket of ballots that hadn't been counted, I would certainly accept it, but the election won't be certified until Thanksgiving or so and I just didn't want people to wait," he said.
Despite the election results, Hausser plans to stay active in the school community, he said.
"I'm looking for opportunities for involvement," he said.
People have already asked him to help campaign for a likely June bond measure to raise money for school facilities, he said. And he would like to be part of the community process of shaping the school district's Strategic Plan this spring, he said.
There is a silver lining, too -- he can now coach his 10-year-old son's basketball team, something he wouldn't have had time for as a board member, he said.
He is unsure whether he'll run in the 2009 election, when board members Barb Mitchell and Dana Tom complete their first terms.
If the board is functioning well at that time and the incumbents decide to run again, it would deter him, he said.
"It's tough to defeat an incumbent at any time," he said.
A lingering case of pneumonia harmed his recent campaign, Hausser said in today's e-mail.
"I am heartened that we came so close given that I was not able to actively campaign for 3-4 weeks due to the flu and pneumonia. I'm confident that we would have prevailed if I'd been able to meet more of the community during those crucial weeks," he said.
He also thanked supporters.
"To everyone who displayed a sign, contributed their money, time and energy, words cannot express my appreciation for your support," he said.