RPA wins supermajority on Richmond council; rent control passes

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The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) won two more Richmond council seats in Tuesday’s Election, which means the group will hold five of the seven council seats starting in January, according to the election results, which remain unofficial.

Three council seats were up for grabs Tuesday. RPA-supported candidates Melvin Willis (7,077) and Ben Choi (6,280) received the most votes to earn their first terms on council. Incumbent Jael Myrick received just enough votes, 6,010, to retain his seat.

The election spelled an end to Nat Bates’ long run on council, as he finished fifth with 5,484 votes. Fellow incumbent Vinay Pimple also lost his seat.

The RPA’s victory, fueled in-part by out-of-state contributions from Our Revolution, the political non-profit started by Bernie Sanders, and other Sanders supporters, follows another resounding win in 2014 during which the group secured three council seats with current members Gayle Mclaughlin, Eduardo Martinez and Jovanka Beckles.

Starting in January, the progressive group’s supermajority on council will allow it to effectively push forward its policies. The RPA typically votes as a bloc, and its policies are often determined by an unelected steering committee.

Following the RPA’s victory Tuesday night, Mayor Tom Butt called Richmond, or at least the city’s political landscape, “a whole new world.”

“In the antithesis of the national election, which just delivered President Trump, Richmond voters selected Melvin Willis, Ben Choi and Jael Myrick for four-year terms,” he said in his e-forum newsletter.

The RPA was also victorious in passing Measure L, the controversial Richmond rent control and just cause for eviction policies.

Measure M, an increase on the transfer tax supported by Mayor Tom Butt, was defeated, with nearly 75-percent voting against.

For San Pablo City Council, Cecilia Valdez received the most votes and will be joined on the dais by Mayor Rich Kinney and Arturo Cruz. Incumbent Kathy Meuy Seng Chao Rothberg lost her seat.

See below for more locally-focused elections results. For full results in Contra Costa County, California, and nationwide, go here.

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