2 frontrunners emerge in Oakland mayoral race

After a long night of counting, as of Wednesday morning, there were two clear front-runners in the Oakland mayoral race: Loren Taylor and Sheng Thao.

That's according to Round 9 in the ranked-choice voting system to determine who will replace termed-out Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Taylor was leading with 53% of the vote, and Thao had 47%. Still, final results might take days to come in to see if one of these two current city councilmembers becomes mayor or if another candidate from the field of 10 rises to the top.

In ranked-choice voting, if no candidate gets a majority in the first round, then the last-place candidate is eliminated.

Then, people who voted for that last-place candidate have their second choice counted.

At their respective election parties Tuesday night, both Taylor and Thao struck positive tones.

"It's too early to declare victory," Taylor said. "We're still receiving the positive affirmation we know is coming our way. I encourage all of my supporters and all Oaklanders to be patient, as I will be. This process is a sign that our dedicated election workers are being careful and methodical, and that’s something we should all applaud. I want to thank election workers and officials who continue to work into the night counting every ballot and making sure each Oakland voice has a say in this election."

Thao told thanked her supporters telling them: "We ran a strong campaign."

Thao was endorsed by the Democratic Party; Taylor won the endorsement of Schaaf, as well as the mayors in San Francisco and San Jose. 

In an interview, Alameda County Registrar of Voters spokesman Tim Dupuis said the totals on the county's website are just for early votes – meaning the mail-in ballots dropped off before the weekend and in-person votes.

As of Wednesday morning, they have "tens of thousands" of Oakland votes left to count. There are "hundreds of thousands" of votes that still need to be tabulated throughout the county, he said. 

At this point, only 18% of the vote has been tabulated, but Dupuis expected that voter turnout would ultimately reach 40% to 50%. 

Dupuis said he hoped there would be an update on Thursday afternoon.