Challenger Jeff Rosen narrowly defeated Santa Clara County incumbent District Attorney Dolores Carr Tuesday in an election night marked by excruciatingly slow election results. The final tally wasn't announced until just past 2 a.m.
Throughout the night, scores of supporters at election-night parties in south San Jose talked among themselves as results were projected -- unchanging for long periods -- on screens.
But Rosen took an early lead of about 1,600 votes, which grew incrementally during the evening until the final count was announced by the county registrar of voters at 2:03 a.m.
Rosen had amassed 91,837 votes, or 50.61 percent of the votes, to Carr's 89,620 votes, or 49.39 percent -- giving Rosen a 2,217 lead, the largest of the night.
Carr was gracious in defeat as the totals showed a widening lead for Rosen in the last announcements.
"We ran an honest and honorable campaign," she said. "I'm proud of the support we have had, and I'm proud of accomplishments we've made as I've been DA."
Rosen, in a written statement, said the election is not just about him but about broader issues, including justice.
"Tonight, my friends, we have turned a new page in the history of our District Attorney's Office!" Rosen said in the statement. "Together, we have started a new chapter. Tonight, we have spoken with the people of this county, and together, loudly and clearly, we have said one word: justice.
"And as long as I serve as this county's District Attorney, that word will be our guide, our inspiration, and our hallmark. Because only through a just process, and a justice-oriented approach, can we achieve just results.
Rosen said "people frequently asked me why I was running for District Attorney. My wife Amber often asked me the same question the last several months, and with good reason.
"We're all excited about the election, excited about what just happened. But what just happened is relatively small compared to what we have to look forward to. It's a new paradigm, a new ideology that is going to drive our top law enforcement office in this county," he pledged.
Rosen particularly thanked the deputy district attorneys who supported his candidacy in spite of the potential harm it might do their careers in the future, saying that took real courage.