Danville Mayor Candace Andersen declared her victory in the race for Contra Costa County District 2 supervisor Tuesday night at 9:45 p.m., as she led with 61 percent of the vote, with Tomi Van de Brooke at 27 percent and Sean White at 12 percent.
"Despite only 16 precincts (out of 140) reporting, I'm declaring a victory," Andersen said to the room full of cheering supporters at her campaign headquarters at the Rose Garden in Danville.
Surrounded by county Republican leaders, including California Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro who introduced her, Andersen said in her acceptance speech that she was appreciative of everyone who gave her support.
"I'm pleased that a number of my friends are here that are Democrats," Andersen said. "This is a non-partisan office and I'm here to represent every voter, whether they voted for me or not."
She also spoke movingly about District 2 Supervisor Gayle Uilkema, who announced in November that she would not run for reelection, then died May 19 after a two-year battle with cancer.
"Gayle signed a certificate endorsing me and it will be prominently displayed in Gayle's and my office," Andersen said.
With all 140 precincts reporting, the returns had shifted only slightly: Andersen led with 60.27 percent of the vote (24,692); Van de Brooke, who lives in Orinda, had 27.75 percent (11,367); White, from Lafayette, had 11.78 percent (4,828). There were 81 write-in votes. A candidate had to win a simple majority to avoid a runoff in November.
The race between Mayor Andersen and Van de Brooke, who is president of the Contra Costa Community College Governing Board, was contentious, with Van de Brooke focusing on social issues, saying Planned Parenthood's funding would be threatened by Andersen, a Mormon. Labor and abortion rights activists spent almost $50,000 on the race supporting Van de Brooke.
Andersen said again and again that she does not impose her beliefs on the community she serves, noting that she doesn't drink coffee or alcohol but there is a Starbucks on every corner in Danville, as well as Elliott's bar prominently in the middle of downtown. She stated she believes strongly in the importance of health care for women, and that a woman's right to choose is well entrenched in California and it is not a county issue.
Andersen focused on her experience on the city councils for 21 years, serving on up to 30 countywide committees, and her record as an effective leader. The two leading candidates addressed topics such as the county budget, unfunded liability in county pensions and the urban growth boundary
at a forum held by the Danville/SanRamon Express in April.
Contra Costa County has 520,098 registered voters; 160,108 (30.78 percent) of them voted Tuesday.