Sheng Thao trailed Taylor on election night and subsequent vote counts but prevailed in ranked-choice after all ballots were counted. Credit: Saskia Hatvany

District 4 City Councilmember Sheng Thao will be Oakland’s next mayor, according to the election results posted by the Registrar of Voters on Monday night. The results must still be audited by the registrar and certified by the Oakland City Council to become official.

There were still several thousand ballots left to count in Alameda County as of last Friday, creating some uncertainty about the ultimate outcome. Monday’s update added another 3,331 to the total 495,000 cast by registered voters.

Thao won with 57,159 votes, or 50.3% after ranked choice, narrowly beating District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor who got 56,477 votes.


Related: How ranked-choice voting propelled Sheng Thao ahead of Loren Taylor


This year’s mayoral election was extremely close—just 682 votes separating Thao and Taylor after the ranked-choice process was run.

Taylor led the field of 10 candidates with first-choice votes. And during the first ten days of the ballot counting process, he maintained his lead, even after the ranked-choice voting process was run. But ballots counted later in the process—those mailed back or dropped off closer to election day—skewed in Thao’s favor and she pulled ahead on Nov. 18.

Turnout across Alameda County and Oakland was lower—about 53%—this year than in 2020 when 81% of voters participated, and the last Oakland mayoral election in 2018, which saw a turnout rate of 67%.

Both Thao and Taylor issued cautious statements last week as the registrar continued to process ballots and post periodic updates.

After Monday’s final results went up, Thao issued a statement: “It’s been a long journey, and I’m incredibly honored by the trust the voters have placed in me,” she said. “I also want all Oaklanders who voted for another candidate to know I will do everything I can to earn your trust. I will be a Mayor for all of Oakland.”

Taylor did not comment on the final results, but Monday night his campaign sent an email stating that he will hold a press conference Tuesday morning in East Oakland.

There is no automatic recount law in especially close races in California. Any registered voter, including the candidates, can request a recount, but the requester must pay for it.

Before joining The Oaklandside as News Editor, Darwin BondGraham worked with The Appeal, where he was an investigative reporter covering police and prosecutorial misconduct. He has reported on gun violence for The Guardian, and was an enterprise reporter for the East Bay Express. BondGraham's work has also appeared with KQED, ProPublica and other leading national and local outlets. He holds a doctorate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was the co-recipient of the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2017.