The East Palo Alto City Council election remains tight weeks after Election Day, with the current mayor and two newcomers leading the pack of seven candidates.
Incumbent Ruben Abrica remained in first place with 21.8% of the vote on Monday, Dec. 5. Teacher Martha Barragan is in second place with 19.7% of the vote. She's 18 votes ahead of biotech scientist Webster Lincoln, who's in third place with 19.5%. The top two vote-getters would win the two seats up for grabs.
As he waits for the final results to come in, Abrica said he is grateful to the voters for their continuing support.
"I'm a longstanding public servant for the community hoping to be re-elected to keep on working to improve our beautiful City by the Bay," he said in a written statement on Nov. 16.
Lincoln, who previously ran for council in 2020 and was edged out by Antonio Lopez by just 69 votes.
"I'm hopeful that I will prevail once the final votes have been counted," Lincoln said in a Nov. 16 email. "Given that there were seven candidates running for two seats, and based on previous experience and election data, I knew the margin of victory would be thin, so every vote would count.
"We really made a significant push in the last few weeks of the campaign to get out the vote," he said.
Public Works and Transportation Commissioner Mark Dinan remained in fourth place with 17.2%. He didn't respond to a request for comment, but on his Facebook campaign page on Nov. 9, he was hopeful for a turnaround when all of the votes were counted.
"Win or lose, Martha and I are proud of the campaign we have run. We ran on a message of positive change and succeeded in raising awareness on a variety of issues," he wrote.
Coach and preacher Jeff Austin had 8.6% of votes. He said he is glad the election is over.
"I am confident that our city will go forward and resolve the issues facing us. This election has been an introduction to the political arena for me. I learned a lot. I look forward to the next one," he said.
Planning Commissioner Q Smith had 7.2% of the vote. She also thanked everyone who supported her.
"Our home, our city, our lives, our future is working together for change because people past, people present and people's future are my life priorities to the last person who I have yet to meet that understands people are our responsibility," she said in an email.
Senior Advisory Council member Gail Wilkerson, who had 6.3% of the votes as of Wednesday, said her campaign went along exactly as she expected. Since then, she has garnered 6% of votes.
"I am cool with the results. I began late. I had to scurry around at the last minute to get credible signatures," she said. "The election was a new experience for me. It was to me, like a blur."
She plans to run in future elections, she said. Despite mudslinging among some candidates, Wilkerson said the election was an enjoyable experience.
"I breathed a sigh of relief that it was over," she said.
The council is facing major challenges in the next four years, including growing gentrification, affordable housing and how to rebuild the city's aging water and sewer infrastructure and roads.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.