City Councilmember Loren Taylor has the most first-choice votes in the race for Oakland mayor, according to preliminary results released early Wednesday, but results based on the city’s ranked-choice voting system have yet to be tabulated.

In ranked-choice voting, the candidate who gets a majority of the votes wins. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The second choice of voters whose candidate was eliminated will get an additional vote until one candidate gets a majority.

Behind Taylor in the race is City Council president pro tem Sheng Thao, followed by former City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente.

Taylor had 12,821 first-choice votes, followed by Thao with 10,775 and De La Fuente with 4,834.

Oakland mayoral candidate Loren Taylor collected more than a third of the first-choice votes in Tuesday’s election. (Photo by Rhett Jones Jr Photography via Bay City News)

“I believe we are on a path to victory, but it is too soon to say much more than that tonight,” Taylor said in a statement late Tuesday. “I encourage all of my supporters and all Oaklanders to be patient, as I will be.”

Even though Taylor has the most first-choice votes, as candidates are eliminated and second choices are allocated, the leader could change. Taylor had 34.2 percent of first-choice early Wednesday while Thao had 28.7 percent. De La Fuente had nearly 13 percent.

Taylor has been a supporter of the Oakland Police Department while advocating for other changes to public safety. He has indicated in the past that Oakland needs to maintain its police force until measures are in place and tested to address the root causes of violence.

He has the endorsement of the mayors in his hometown, as well as those in San Francisco and San Jose.

Thao has the backing of the Democratic Party.

Thao said in an interview ahead of Election Day that the most pressing challenge facing Oakland is the failure of the mayor and City Council to work together to solve the city’s problem.

De La Fuente did not reply to an email seeking his opinion on the challenges facing Oakland or return a call seeking an interview.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.