Manz, Mboup locked in a tight race for Lake Oswego council seat
With a few ballots still to be counted, the race for the third and final seat on the Lake Oswego City Council is still too close to call.
Unofficial results as of Friday afternoon show incumbent Councilor Jackie Manz leading International Leadership Academy Executive Director Massene Mboup by just 49 votes. Manz has been in third place since Election Night, but her edge over Mboup has been steadily shrinking.
This week, Clackamas County elections officials are working to count damaged ballots, with about 270 expected to be added to the vote totals by the end of day Thursday, according to County Clerk Sherry Hall.
Hall told The Review on Wednesday that 118 additional ballots from Lake Oswego have signature issues. Some of those challenged ballots may end up going uncounted, though. The list of impacted voters is available for public release (via a request form available online at www.sos.oregon.gov/elections/Documents/SEL534.pdf ), but voters only have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, to rectify the signature problems.
In the meantime, the county will continue to issue updates until Nov. 21 at the latest. Final election results must be certified between Nov. 21-26, Hall said.
At that point, an automatic recount will be triggered if the difference between Manz and Mboup is one-fifth of 1 percent or less of the total votes cast for the two candidates. As it stands now, Hall said, that means a recount would happen only if the difference between the two candidates was 29 votes or less. That number will change, however, as the remaining ballots are counted.
Preparing to serve
While Mboup and Manz wait for updates, Daniel Nguyen and John Wendland are in the beginning stages of preparing to assume their roles as city councilors. Nguyen led all of the candidates with 20.43 percent of the vote as of Wednesday; Wendland took the second council seat with 16.24 percent of the vote.
For Wendland, the past week has allowed time for him to process his win — although it still feels surreal, he said.
"When you're campaigning, everything is going 90 miles per hour," the former School Board chair said. "After you win, it's definitely a change of pace. I'm really excited about joining council, and I've had nothing but great conversations with a number of people both in (and around) City
Both Wendland and Nguyen are already set up with their official City email accounts and are beginning to meet with people like City Manager Scott Lazenby and City Recorder Anne-Marie Simpson to gain some of the knowledge they'll need to hit the ground running in January.
They say they'll use the next six to eight weeks to continue meeting with constituents and neighbors to understand what they can bring to the table when the City Council sets its goals for 2019 at an annual retreat in mid-January.
Nguyen, a small-business owner who is perhaps best know for his Bambuza Vietnamese restaurants, says he's also excited to participate in an "elected leaders bootcamp" put on by Portland State University, as well as training offered by the League of Cities that helps newly-elected leaders understand how to communicate and some of the ethics that surround public office.
"I'm still processing all this," Nguyen said. "The reaction I've received has me so humbled."
For both new councilors, the election was about explaining their values and getting their message to as many people as possible. According to Wendland, his biggest goal was to show people his genuine love for this community and the stewardship that has grown out of that love.
"I ran a nonpartisan campaign, and I wanted to make sure I took input from everyone. I feel I came off as a person who will work across all lines and with all groups." Wendland said. "People would tell me I needed to boast more about what I've done, but that's not my style. I like to solve problems, work with people and figure things out. I'm happy that's what people saw and that they supported me."
Chrissy Erguiza, Nguyen's campaign manager, says humility was also at the center of their efforts. Often, she said, it wasn't until they were out in the field that she got to see some of the surprises hidden beneath Nguyen's calm exterior.
"One time, we were out canvassing and we came across this Chinese man. All of a sudden, Daniel just burst out in Mandarin and began really connecting with this guy," Erguiza said. "I had no idea he even knew Chinese."
Those types of surprises were common as Erguiza — who has worked on campaigns in Lane County and for the Oregon Democratic Party for a few years — got to know Nguyen better. The pair were introduced to each other when Nguyen threw his hat in the ring to fill the House District 38 seat vacated by Ann Lininger after she was named to the Clackamas County Circuit Court. (The post eventually went to Andrea Salinas, who ran unopposed for a full term in Salem last week.)
Nguyen reached out to Erguiza again when he decided to run for City Council. Together, they put together a strategy that allowed them to win the race by a wide margin and elevate Nguyen to a seat on the Lake Oswego City Council — the first person of color to ever hold such office.
"When you're in the moment, it's hard to analyze what has happened. But this week, as I've had time to reflect, I've realized that what Daniel has done is quite historic," Erguiza said.
It's a particularly proud moment for Erguiza as well, as a woman of Filipino descent and someone who proactively seeks to work with candidates who represent Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
"Daniel puts his values into action. Not only is he personable, he's solutions-oriented," Erguiza said. "That's why I decided to work with him."
(Unofficial results as of late Thursday afternoon; totals do not include write-in votes)
Daniel Nguyen...............10,895 (20.40%)
John Wendland...............8,671 (16.24%)
Jackie Manz.......................7,892 (14.78%)
Massene Mboup................7,843 (14.69%)
Emma Burke......................6,584 (12.33%)
Randy Arthur.....................6.169 (11.55%)
Donald Mattersdorff...........3,563 (6.67%)
Hannah Crumme................1,548 (2.90%)