Henry R. Perea is going to lose the Fresno mayor’s race to Lee Brand.
Even a savvy political veteran like Perea knew that when he found himself down more than 7 percentage points on the day after Election Day. He conceded to Brand not long after the sun rose.
But the end result will end up being close.
In fact, it will be the closest finish since Fresno went to a strong-mayor form of government 20 years ago.
Brand’s lead on Wednesday shrunk to 3.5 percentage points after Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth updated the vote count from the November 8 election. Brand is currently at 51.6 percent and Perea is at 48.1 percent.
On the day after the election, with all the precincts counted, Brand’s lead was 7.1 percent – 53.4 percent to 46.3 percent.
That means as late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots have been counted since Election Day, Perea has cut Brand’s lead in half.
Unfortunately for Perea, Brand’s lead is now 4,763 votes, and there’s probably only around 4,500 provisional ballots left to count in the city. (Countywide, Orth estimates the number at around 9,000.)
Perea could very well cut the gap to around 3 percent by the time all the votes are counted. In 2008, Swearengin’s victory margin over Henry T. Perea – Henry R. Perea’s son – was a little short of 9 percentage points.
Jim Patterson and Alan Autry, the city’s first two strong mayors, trounced their opponents.
The next update from the county will be on Saturday.