San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter won re-election to a second term Tuesday night in rousing fashion with decisive victory over Councilmember Benny Lee.
But while Councilmembers Deborah Cox and Corina Lopez also romped to victory, Councilmember Lee Thomas was upset by San Leandro school board member Victor Aguilar, Jr. The result is one of the most shocking in the entire East Bay.
Cutter captured a clear majority of the vote in the four-person race, winning 53.55 percent. The percentage was more than double Lee’s 25.93 percent, a spread few believed possible. Lee not only boasted the largest campaign war chest in the race, but had employed a strong ground game. However, there was not much to show for the effort.
Several San Leandro races are likely to have significant ramifications for years to come.
Lee’s poor mayoral result could push him out of line for the list of candidates who might seek Cutter’s termed out seat in four years. He was also rumored to be eyeing a run later for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. That, too, may not be attainable after Tuesday’s loss.
The political calculus also changes for Thomas, himself, could have been a mayoral prospect. The loss to Aguilar, Jr., who had run a tepid campaign, was a rematch from 2014, in which Thomas was the victor. Aguilar, Jr. is also a member of the Fresh, Clean Slate of rent control advocates, and the only one of its members to win Tuesday night.
The big winner, both on the electoral scoreboard, but beyond, is Lopez. She defeated challenger Maxine Oliver-Benson with over 71 percent of the vote, one of the largest spreads of any race in the entire East Bay Tuesday night.
In addition, the possible path to the mayor’s office is now cleared of potential suitors, although, much can change in the few years.
Cox also registered a dominate performance over Ken Pon and Eva Arce, earning two-thirds of the vote. Cox also outlasted Pon in 2014.
Notably, none of the four San Leandro races required the use of the ranked choice voting system since they all reach a simple majority of the vote through the first round.