At 32, Jesse Arreguin will become Berkeley’s
youngest mayor ever.

The son of a farm worker is now Berkeley’s first Latino mayor. Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, 32, also becomes the East Bay city’s youngest mayor ever.

Arreguin defeated fellow Councilmember Laurie Capitelli in a hard-fought, sometimes adversarial campaign that also included the help of Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who’s campaign ostensibly was based on utilizing Berkeley’s ranked-choice voting system to boost Arreguin’s chances on Tuesday night.

The gambit proved to be excessive in the end as Arreguin nearly reached the necessary majority threshold on his own with more than 47 percent of the vote. Capitelli received 33.6 percent of first-place votes, followed by Worthington at 8.4 percent.

After seven rounds of ranked-choice voting, Arreguin actually crossed the 50 percent mark before even adding Worthington’s cache of votes, presumably favoring Arreguin.

In the end, Arreguin didn’t need the help of Kriss
Worthington, left, and his second-place votes.

Arreguin will replace the retiring Mayor Tom Bates.

Earlier this year, Arreguin’s progressive campaign received positive attention after he was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. At one mayoral forum, the mere mention of the popular former Democratic presidential candidate, elicited a round of hearty applause.

“Throughout this campaign we have talked about making Berkeley work for everyone. And that will be the mission I will carry forward as your mayor,” said Arreguin. He vowed to build more affordable housing in Berkeley and continue protecting the environment. “Let’s raise the minimum wage to a truly living wage, so that nobody who works full time in Berkeley lives in poverty.”

Arreguin also urged from greater equity in Berkeley. “Let us do all that we can to close those widening gaps in health, education, and economic opportunity, so that every child born in Berkeley, every family who lives here and decides to move here can get a fair shot at reaching for their dreams.”