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28 votes separate Hansen and Yee, Measure U set for approval

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Election night results show Steve Hansen beating Joe Yee by a mere 28 votes, with absentee ballots yet to be counted.

STEVE HANSEN . . . . . . . . . 7,121 votes   49.99%

JOSEPH YEE . . . . . . . . . . 7,093 votes   49.79%

"We worked hard and fought for every vote. I knew this was going to be close,” Yee said.

Hansen said he’s optimistic for a win.

"What I’m telling you now, based on what we see, it looks really good,” Hansen said.

Both Hansen and Yee’s campaign staff predicted that a final result won’t be known for as many as three weeks. By law, the county has 28 days to count the absentee ballots, with each signature being checked against the one the voter has on file. Election staff will resume the counting process Thursday, and are working on establishing a schedule for updates, according to officials.

In District 2, Rob Kerth leads Allen Warren by 63 votes.

ROB KERTH . . . . . . . . . . 3,698 votes   50.24%

ALLEN WAYNE WARREN . . . . . . . 3,635 votes   49.38%

Two pivotal measures were also on the ballot for Sacramento voters: Measure M and Measure U.

Measure M would have created a charter commission to study the city charter and make recommendations for changes, but it was soundly defeated by almost 75 percent of voters.


No. . . . . . . . . . . . . 57,731 votes  74.43%

Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 19,830 votes 25.57%

The opposite was true for Measure U, the sales tax initiative to fund public safety, which was passing by a margin of 63 percent Tuesday night. 


Measure T would have allowed the city to require residents to use a green waste can, eliminating the need for "The Claw."

Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 43,679 votes   51.08%
No. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41,831 votes   48.92%

Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 54,853 votes    63.14%

No. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32,023 votes    36.86%

Hansen’s election party was at KBar, one of downtown’s newest venues on the revitalized K Street, and when he arrived, walking down 10th Street toward the bar, he was greeted with cheers.

Early returns were in by the time of his arrival, and they showed promise – the race was close.

“We’re splitting the Land Park vote,” shouted one supporter, banging his fist on a wall in triumph.

Grabbing a significant chunk of the vote from Land Park – home to the politically experienced former City Councilman Yee – was crucial for Hansen to have a shot at victory.

Hansen and Yee were separated by less than 100 votes in the June primaries, and Tuesday’s runoff election was preceded by a number of forums and debates as the two sparred to represent the recently redrawn District 4.

The race was marked as a contrast in styles. The social-media-savvy Steve Hansen campaigned on his passion for the city and his drive to be an advocate for his constituents. Yee took a more traditional approach, lauding his previous experience on the City Council and the expertise gained in his time working on various government bodies – most recently the Planning Commission.

As Tuesday night wore on and the clock ticked from 9 to 10 and 11, infrequent updates came in from the county elections results website. Each one sent campaign staffers scrambling, whipping out smartphones as they determined which polling places had reported, trying to get a read on the results.

Their harried reactions were contrasted by the easygoing Hansen, who nonchalantly made the rounds among his supporters, who packed the venue and spilled out onto the patio to take in an uncharacteristically warm November night.

Hansen had just started to give a speech thanking all of his supporters when he was interrupted by applause as President Barack Obama gave his victory speech. The clinking of glasses and din of conversation ceased as the Democratic crowd hung on his words, cheering at times.

Mayor Kevin Johnson dropped by at one point, having come from his own election-night party at the adjacent Oishii Sushi Bar and Grill, which opened last month.

By midnight, the party waned as people headed home and prepared to go to work the next day. Hansen occupied a booth, sitting next to a volunteer who continually hit the refresh button on the elections results website.

Over off of Broadway, Yee’s party was held at Iron Steaks. Many of Sacramento’s political pundits, including former Mayor Anne Rudin and outgoing District 4 Councilmember Rob Fong, stopped by to wish the District 4 candidate well.

“Let’s just hope that by the end of tonight that we get the right people in for City Council,” said former Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo.

There was a healthy mix of supporters, friends and family from all over the highly contested central city district.

Joe Yee embraces a suporter.

Chris Tucker, who works for the newly opened downtown restaurant Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., located on S and 17th streets, was one of those in attendance.

“I cast my vote for Joe Yee this year,” said Tucker. “I think it’s fun to come out to events like this and show your support.”

With the race so close, only one thing was clear as Tuesday turned to Wednesday – a final result likely won’t be known for a few weeks.

Whoever wins will be the first councilman elected to represent the entirety of the central city in more than 30 years.

Last year’s redistricting process saw the downtown and Midtown core go from being split between three districts into one, falling under the control of Land Park resident Rob Fong. 

– By Brandon Darnell and Cindy Baker 

Previous updates:

The central city and Land Park will have a new City Council representative next year, and as any regular reader of The Sacramento Press knows, it’s either going to be Joe Yee or Steve Hansen. We checked in with both camps to get their perspective on voter turnout and their campaigns on election day.

Steve Hansen in a phone interview (edited):

"The voters are deciding, and we feel really good about it." Hansen stated, applauding what he said appeared to be high voter turnout. "It’s great to see the people of Sacramento showing up to do their job as citizens, and I’m really proud of the city for going out to vote."

Joe Yee’s campaign manager James Schwab in a phone interview (also edited):

"On Saturday and Sunday we talked to about 2,200 voters, and we received a response of around 60 percent saying they’re going to vote for Joe," Schwab said. 

– By Jared Goyette

6:43 p.m.

Whether by stepping into a booth or simply dropping off a belated absentee mailer, Sacramentans are still heading to the polls Tuesday evening.

On the corner of V and Eighth streets, the St. Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church has seen a steady stream of voters throughout the day. Workers inside said that for what is a typically slow station, there’s been a lot of activity.

“Close to where I live, too, it was packed,” said volunteer Lydia Phillips. “I think that this year is going to be a good turnout. A lot of people have been bringing their ballots in.”

There were still a few parking spots left just before the 5 p.m. rush hour, and heavy bike and foot traffic.

“It was busy (inside),” said voter Benson Tobbold. “But I took my time. I voted for everything.”

At Curtis Park’s Sierra 2 Center, cars lined the darkening streets as residents clamored to vote before the end of the day.

“I’ve lived in Sacramento for about a year now,” said voter Jared Renfro. “The people here are so nice and so accommodating. It really makes this whole process easier.”

With voters deciding on two City Council races and local ballot measures dealing with lawn waste (“The Claw"), a proposed sales tax increase, school bonds and the potential charter commission, this year’s ballot may be the longest yet.

“There are a lot of propositions,” continued Renfro. “I’m sure that can be confusing for some people.”

For some people, 2012 marks the first year particpating in the election process.

“This is my first election, my first time voting,” said student Ivan Silva. “Finding out where to go is pretty easy – I found out through Facebook. I can’t wait for the results.”  

– by Cindy Baker 

4 p.m.

It’s Election Day, and Sacramentans are at the polls to cast their vote for president as well as a host of local measures, propositions and races.

The Clunie Community Center at 601 Alhambra Blvd. had seen about 350 voters by 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to polling place volunteer Scott Holcomb.

He said he expected more voters to come in later in the afternoon and in the evening before the 8 p.m. closure of the polls, and it’s about 25 percent more traffic than he saw when he last volunteered for an election – the 2008 presidential race, when he worked at a polling place in Natomas.

He said he voted, and one of the major issues that drew him to the polls was Proposition 30.

“You’d hate to see a bullet go through California tomorrow if it doesn’t pass,” he said. “It’s a valid issue.”

Noreen Daniels was voting at the Clunie Community Center Tuesday afternoon, and she said she thinks all of the issues are important, and she was voting on some of the local measures based on their fiscal impact.

“I’ve voted in every election because we need to vote to have our freedoms,” she said.

The Sacramento County Administration Building at 700 H St. was significantly more crowded than the Clunie Community Center, with people forming lines to cast their votes.

Absentee voters came in significant numbers to drop off their ballots in person, and a volunteer shouted directions on where they should drop them off in an effort to cut down on the lines.

Mike Munts was there to vote, and he said the economy and education issues were at the top of his priority list.

“It’s probably the schools right now,” he said. “They’re our future.”

He added that he thinks voting is important, and he had a quick response as to why.

“Bad politicians are elected by good citizens who don’t vote,” he said.

At the south end of the grid, voters at First Church of the Nazarene, 1820 28th St., cast their votes in an atmosphere more like the one at the Clunie Community Center than the county administration building.

Jane Sinclair said that while local issues are important to her, she is more concerned with who will be elected president.

“I think all the issues are important,” she said, “but especially health care, foreign policy and women’s health care.”

She said she votes every time she can, and she thinks it’s an important part of being an American.

“I’m just proud to be able to vote,” she said.

– by Brandon Darnell


-Compiled by Jared Goyette

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