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Eduardo Martinez

Eduardo Martinez wins Richmond mayor’s race

on November 9, 2022

Eduardo Martinez became the first elected Latino mayor of Richmond on Tuesday, inching past runner-up Shawn Dunning by fewer than a thousand votes in the city’s mayoral election.

Martinez, a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, has been a City Council member for nearly eight years. 

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with the night’s final unofficial results freshly posted, Martinez said he felt great.

Eduardo Martinez
(Courtesy of Eduardo Martinez)

“There’s a lot of work to be done over the next few years and I need to assemble a team to get on it,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of great people to choose from who are willing to work with me. And I also think I need to reach out to my opponents and bring them to the table.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Dunning had said that win or lose, he was optimistic about the future. A conflict resolution consultant, he said his campaign had succeeded in building “a lot of momentum towards collaborative leadership” in the city, so he did not feel he was losing either way.

Not far behind Martinez and Dunning in the mayoral race was Nat Bates, who has been involved in city politics since 1967 and served as mayor twice. The loss takes him off the City Council.

 “The people have made their decision, and I respect that,” he said Wednesday.

While Martinez received 36.07% of the vote on election night, Dunning secured 30.12% and Bates got 29.56. Candidate Mark Wassberg was a distant fourth.

Martinez will replace Mayor Tom Butt when Butt’s second-term expires in January, ending 28 years in office. As Tom Butt exits politics, his son Andrew will enter it as a new member of thee City Council.

Andrew Butt beat Cesar Zepeda 1,176 votes to 1,027 votes in City Council District 2.

“The effort in terms of campaigning was done days, weeks and months ago,” Andrew Butt said on Tuesday evening, ahead of the results.

In a tight District 3 race, RPA-backed Doria Robinson won with 605 votes, while former council member Courtland ”Corky” Booze got 555 votes and Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council President Oscar Garcia received 506. 

Robinson could not be reached for comment.

Booze had been hoping for a return to City Council after eight years. “I truly believe the controlling powers are afraid of me getting back in office because of my independent thinking and working for those who have no voice,” he said earlier on Tuesday.

“When you’re fighting the big boys and the big money, sometimes your message doesn’t get across,” he added.

Meanwhile, Garcia had predicted the results would be neck and neck in District 3. He said turnout is usually low in the district and, therefore, every vote mattered. 

In District 4, community activist Soheila Bana won a landslide victory against small business owner and artist Jamin Pursell. She received 2,494 votes while RPA-endorsed Pursell secured 1,166. Both Bana and Pursell had spent Election Day campaigning.

The 2022 election has tipped the Richmond City Council’s balance of power further in favor of the RPA, with the group maintaining four council positions and picking up the mayor’s seat. 

Election night results are all unofficial until the vote is certified days after the election. While all precincts had reported by 12:30 a.m., the county had yet to tabulate all the mail-ins, which had to be postmarked by Tuesday.

Reporter Jule Hermann contributed to this story.

28 Comments

  1. Beverly Dynes on November 9, 2022 at 2:03 am

    Congratulations, Mayor Martinez! Good job on a well-run campaign and best of luck.

    • Rip on November 9, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      Half of Richmond doesn’t want the RPA running the city. If Nat Bates had had the good sense to drop out of the race Dunning would’ve gotten 50%. Martinez might be able to pull the wool over on 36% of the city but I guarantee he’s on borrowed time.

      • Cc group on November 10, 2022 at 1:22 pm

        This isn’t good at all heard there are a lot of ballots yet to count in contra Costa county due to close races

  2. orlando on November 9, 2022 at 8:56 am

    great job you did great

  3. Jay on November 9, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Great, blight will continue. Reckless driving, litter, and prostitution will continue to be rampant in the city. Absolutely nothing will change except less direction, more crime, and a lack of public services.

    • Javi on November 9, 2022 at 6:09 pm

      Sayeth the prophet I-jay-ah.

    • Miguel on November 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm

      Exactly right Jay ! And the more they cut the Police the more crime will prevail, the more you will smell the strong smell of DOPE in the air everywhere while you drive your vehicle around Richmond. The city will conitinue to tax small businesses to death ad run them away from doing business here.

      • Christopher on November 10, 2022 at 11:47 am

        You do know the city has actually increased funding for the police in recent years, right? In the last three years, the Police Departments budget went from $67 million for 2020-21, to $71 million for 2021-22, and to $73 million for 2022-23.

        You can see for yourself in the city’s freely available budget documents:
        https://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/183/Budget-Documents

        Your fear-mongering is not based in reality, and you a disservice to yourself and others by believing and promoting falsehoods.

        • Eric Grant on November 11, 2022 at 10:12 am

          Any idea on what has happened to the city’s future liability for police pensions during that same period?

  4. Nick on November 9, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Time to move out

    • Javi on November 9, 2022 at 6:08 pm

      Deuces

  5. roger on November 9, 2022 at 11:23 am

    i hope hes a good mayor

  6. Robin Bishop on November 9, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    Congratulations! Richmond is extremely fortunate to get you as its new mayor, Ed! Such happy news! Robin & Don

  7. Natalie ESPARZA on November 9, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Congratulations Mr. Martinez, I still remember you as my daughter’s fifth grade teacher at downer elementary school , 🌺Adriana Medina, Well we wish you all the luck we know you’re gonna do good congratulations again!

  8. steve graham on November 9, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    RIchmond needs more companies like mine that offer good manufacturing jobs, but all the RPA can do is kick us in the teeth (measure U).

  9. Javi on November 9, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Congratulations Mr. MARTINEZ

  10. Lisa Park on November 9, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    So so so so glad Eduardo won!! There is hope in the world!

  11. Tulsi Chaulagain on November 9, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    Beautiful Richmond
    Clean Richmond
    Safe Richmond
    Business hope Richmond
    High Education system Richmond
    Best mayor’s in California
    Good luck
    Congratulations.

  12. Maria on November 10, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Sad day for Richmond.

  13. Fabio on November 10, 2022 at 8:51 am

    I hope this city gets cleaned up. Enforce stricter road laws because 23rd has become a race track for a long time. Clean up the city. Too much trash everywhere and we need alot more police presence.

  14. Priscilla on November 10, 2022 at 9:13 am

    I’m very glad he won and would have been okay with Shawn. Those of you complaining about your choices loss can thank Chevron who backed Bates and Wassberg. Also, why don’t you wait and see what happens before your forecast of doom and gloom for Richmond. What is happening here is happening in many other cities. Do some research.

  15. Mala Mahlebashian on November 10, 2022 at 9:23 am

    Congratulations Eduardo. The many times I’ve seen you speak you seem thoughtful, transparent, patient and listen first before you respond. Those are good qualities to have when leading.
    Mala Mahlebashian

  16. Tom slick on November 10, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    Fix the pot hole street in Richmond ca this the worse i ever seen been living here for 66yrs

  17. Your Mom on November 10, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    This article is misleading ALL of the votes have not been counted yet – please do better. I know people who have not received an email that their ballot was counted yet – the FINAL RESULTS should come out on Nov 15th or later

    • Antonia on November 11, 2022 at 10:58 am

      Right. I just received a message that my ballot was received and my vote was counted this morning (Friday). I dropped my ballot off a week ago.
      This is my first mayoral election in Richmond. Serious question, why is a winner not required to reach 50% of the vote?

  18. B on November 11, 2022 at 12:01 am

    We live in nearly complete lawlessness and it’s only going to get worse with this new mayor. As a parent I’m scared to raise my kids in this city. Police don’t even come when your home is being broken into! It will get worse with this guy!

  19. Hershell West on November 11, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Congrats to all the winners! Folks who don’t vote give up the right to complain with the outcomes of an election.

  20. Ugochi on November 22, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Congratulations on the new mayor. All the best and I hope he can work on Beautifying Richmond by keeping the streets liter free, fixing the pot holes, keeping the parks clean green and functional, work on reducing homelessness. Creating jobs for the youths. And supporting youth programs. In fact making Richmond a safe and peaceful place to live. Good luck.

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