Chen takes third seat in City Council contest

Chen takes third seat in City Council contest

Michele Ellson

Updated at 3:36 p.m. Friday, November 16

With all the votes tallied after 10 days of counting, Stewart Chen has earned a two-year term on Alameda’s City Council, earning a close third-place finish in the council contest.

Daysog and first-place finisher Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft will each serve four-year terms, while Chen, who came within 113 votes of Daysog's tally, will finish out Vice Mayor Rob Bonta’s term as Bonta heads to the state Assembly.

Bonta bested Peralta Community College District Trustee Abel Guillen by just under 1,500 votes to take the Assembly seat, which is being vacated by termed-out legislator Sandré Swanson.

In a statement to supporters - a list that included friends and family, local business owners and many public officials - Chen offered his thanks and said he's ready to face the challenges that governing will bring.

"This win is not just for me, but for every one of you who believed in me," Chen wrote. "Thank you for believing in me and my goals."

The completion of the vote count capped a council race that was much kinder and gentler than the one that preceded it. In an earlier interview, Chen said he and Daysog had already congratulated each other on their respective wins, and Chen congratulated his competitors for a tough but clean race.

Chen, a chiropractor who ran on a quality of life platform, will be leaving the Alameda Health Care District Board to join the council. His dozen years of service to the community includes two terms on Alameda’s Social Service Human Relations Board and a stint on the Alameda County Human Relations Commission, in addition to his service on the hospital board, to which he was elected in November 2010.

The remaining members of the hospital board will conduct an application and interview process in order to select a candidate to fill out the remainder of Chen’s term on that board. Meanwhile, Mayor Marie Gilmore will need to seek out a replacement to complete the remainder of Ashcraft’s term on the Planning Board, which extends through June 30, 2015.

Since Chen is filling out the remainder of Bonta's term, he will be eligible to run for two full terms after his initial time on the council is complete. The new council members will be seated on December 18.