Bay Area Spotlight: Berkeley

Posted by Pedro Hernandez on December 22, 2016

The Race for Mayor

In an eight (8) candidate race for Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, former District 4 Councilmember defeated Laurie Capitelli, former District 5 Councilmember, by a 49.1% to 32.1% margin in first choices. With ranked choice voting (RCV), Arreguin crossed the 50% majority threshold when second choices of Naomi Pete, Mike Lee, and Bernt Wahl were counted.

Many observers of the Berkeley Mayoral race noted the alliance that was formed between Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington, District 7 Councilmember. Worthington’s campaign website notes that with RCV, voters could rank himself and Arreguin. 

We previously posted our analysis and encouraged the Alameda County Registrar to narrow the race to two by running a final round of counting -- eliminating Worthington, Gould, and Runningwolf, and transferring the votes of those voters to their next preference among the final two candidates -- Arreguin would lead 60.2% to 39.8% instead of 50.04% to 34.01%.

Under RCV, door-to-door face-to-face voter contact and coalition building matter more than money in politics. The Berkeley Daily Planet reported on the campaign contributions in the Berkeley races. Laurie Capitelli’s campaign outspent both Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington. When you factor in independent expenditures, Arreguin and Worthington were outspent by over $145,000.


Laurie Capitelli

Laurie Capitelli Campaign


National Association of Realtors Fund


Berkeley Police Association





Jesse Arreguin

Jesse Arreguin Campaign


Berkeley Working Families





Kriss Worthington

Kriss Worthington Campaign


Berkeley Working Families





Historic District 2 City Council Race
Berkeley voters also unseated the three-term District 2 incumbent Darryl Moore. Two candidates, Cheryl Davila and Nanci Armstrong-Temple, challenged Moore. Initially, Moore led in the first round of tallying with 39.7% of the first round vote. However, when Armstrong-Temple was eliminated from the race with 29.2% percent of the vote, her supporters’ second-ranked choices were added to the totals of the other candidates. With the field reduced to two, Davila surged into the lead and won in a head to head against Moore 51.25% to 48.75%.

Nanci Armstrong-Temple encouraged her supporters to cast their second choice for Cheryl Davila. Armstrong-Temple noted that her team ran a “diligent campaign to educate voters about instant run-off and ranked choice.” The strategy favored Davila in an unprecedented victory -- no incumbent has been defeated in Berkeley since 1997.

Cheryl Davila reported raising $12,977 and Nanci Armstrong-Temple reported raising $10,182. Both campaigns used voter contact tactics such as door-to-door canvassing, signs, and sending out emails. Darryl Moore reportedly raised $33,624 and the National Association of Realtors fund contributed $11,702 for his re-election campaign. Despite being outspent, Davila was able to capture enough second choices from Armstrong-Temple, illustrating the the power ranked choice voting offers to voters: a stronger voice and a greater choice in the election.

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