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Burlingame council results flip: Russ Cohen now ahead of Ricardo Ortiz for third open seat, provisional ballot counts not final until next week
November 09, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Election Day results which showed Ricardo Ortiz with 10 more votes than Russ Cohen for the third and final slot on the Burlingame City Council have been updated and now show Cohen with 17 more votes than Ortiz.

Meanwhile, another close race, for the third and final slot on the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District Board of Trustees, seems to be solidifying with Amy Koo up 59 votes over Herb Neuman after Election Day results had her up 21 votes.

The San Mateo County Elections Office released updated numbers from the Nov. 5 election 4:30 p.m. Friday. Another update will be posted at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The two races are the only ones that may have their results change as the remaining handful of provisional ballots are counted. Ortiz and former councilman Cohen, formerly had 15.6 percent of the vote with 1,644 votes and Cohen taking 15.5 percent of the vote with 1,634 votes, respectively. Now, it’s flipped, with Cohen taking 15.6 percent of the vote with 1,966 and Ortiz with 15.5 percent of the vote and 1,949 votes. Either candidate would fill a third open seat, as two other candidates already decisively won. Mayor Ann Keighran got 23 percent of the vote, while Councilman Michael Brownrigg took 20.5 percent of the vote.

Cohen said the numbers are still too close for comfort for either candidate.

“It’s still too close to call,” said Cohen, 54. “With 17 votes and provisional ballots still out, we certainly can’t say either of us are decisive members of the council. Historically, we’ve always had close races in Burlingame and I expected that.”

Cohen is vice president of the Burlingame Historical Society, founder and chief curator at the Burlingame History Museum and executive director of the Palo Alto Business and Professional Association. He was on the council from 2005-2007.

Ortiz, 50, is also waiting out the results. He has lived in Burlingame for 20 years and is the Burlingame High School Drama Boosters president and is on the Peninsula Health Care District long term planning committee.

“It keeps moving back and forth,” Ortiz said. “I’m surprised it’s this close. I will have to wait and see what happens.”

In the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District Board of Trustees race, Koo received 13.6 of the vote, with 1,805 votes and Neuman received 13.5 percent of the vote, with 1,784 votes, according to the Tuesday night count. Now the gap has widened by 59 votes, with Koo taking 13.8 percent of the vote and 2,046 votes, while Neuman has 13.4 percent of the vote and 1,987 votes.

Neuman has yet to concede.

“It’s quite a thriller,” said Neuman. “[Koo] worked very hard during the election and in the end more people voted for her than me. She’s going to do a good job.”

Koo said she has increasing confidence in her win because the gap has widened.

Either candidate would fill the third open seat on the board, as the other two have already been decisively filled by incumbent Charles Velschow and Suvarna Bhopale, who received 22.8 percent and 17.8 percent of the vote, respectively, according to the latest results released today. Naomi Nishimoto, Rakesh Hegde and Kelly Redmon also ran. Incumbents Andy Stulbarg and Brian Matthews did not seek re-election.

In the Burlingame race, Nirmala Bandrapalli, Steve Duncan, Alexander England Kent, Andrew Peceimer and Robert Schinagl also ran. Incumbent Cathy Baylock opted not to run again.

The provisional ballot count hasn’t been completed yet and Elections Office doesn’t keep records of vote counting subtotals, so it is unsure how many votes are still left to count, Elections Office officials said. All absentee ballots have been counted. Once the votes are counted, the Elections Office will begin its 1 percent manual tally Nov. 14 in anticipation of certifying the results in early December. The tally confirms that the election was properly conducted. More information can be found at

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: votes, percent, cohen, burlingame, election, ortiz,

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