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Do We Have a Mayor Yet?

Ten years and one day ago was the 2000 presidential election, which, as everyone presumably remembers, took about a month to resolve. Since I was working on the national desk of a newspaper at the time, it meant that I hardly got to take a day off. I did have one weekend free, however, and I drove overnight from New York to Ohio with my father and brother and six-month-old nephew, so that my ailing grandmother could meet her new great-grandson. Whenever someone turned on the TV to hear the latest updates in the Florida recount battle, she would call out impatiently from her wheelchair, through the oxygen tubes running over her upper lip to her nose, “Do we have a President yet?”

With the news that the Alameda County Registrar won’t have the final count of the Mayor’s race done today as expected, I feel a bit like my grandmother did. Do we have a Mayor yet? No, Grandma, not yet—ask me again tomorrow.

I’ve been saying publicly since the preliminary ranked-choice results were released on Friday that I think Perata is almost certainly toast, because I just can’t imagine a realistic scenario in which he wins enough of the remaining 10,000 or so votes in order to beat Quan. I’m not much of a statistician, though, and while I don’t see how the ranked-choice counting system fundamentally changes Perata’s long odds, it does make back-of-the-envelope calculations (which are the only kind I have the patience for) a bit more convoluted. So I’m eager to get final results not only because I care about who the next Mayor will be, but also because I’m eager to find out whether I’ll end up with egg all over my face for dismissing the possibility of a Perata victory.