Update 11/19/22: This story has been updated to reflect Rashi Kesarwani’s appointment to the Berkeley City Council District 1 seat.
Incumbent Rashi Kesarwani has been declared victorious for Berkeley City Council District 1 with 50.03% of the votes as of 1:19 a.m. Saturday with 100% of the precincts accounted for.
Elisa Mikiten is in second place with 41.53% of the votes while Tamar Michai Freeman is in third with 8.43% of the votes.
Kesarwani was first elected to Berkeley City Council in 2018, replacing former city councilmember Linda Maio. Having prior experience on City Council committees, Kesarwani focused her platform on increasing low-income housing, promoting public safety and funding infrastructure improvements.
“I’m the beneficiary of a tolerant open-hearted California that gave my family and me an opportunity to succeed, and I want to keep working to ensure that this dream is possible for the next generation,” Kesarwani previously told The Daily Californian in an email.
Extending to Berkeley Marina, District 1 includes all of the harbor and most of the Marina south of University Avenue. Within her capacity as a current city council member, Kesarwani has pursued various projects in her district, including the creation of a permanent housing site in collaboration with California’s Homekey project.
Kesarwani received endorsements from organizations such as the Asian American Democratic Caucus, East Bay Young Democrats, Alameda Labor Council and East Bay Women’s Political Alliance. She was also endorsed by elected officials such as California State Sen. Nancy Skinner, Berkeley Councilmembers Terry Taplin, Susan Wengraf and Lori Droste and city Mayor Jesse Arreguín.
“Thank you to our dedicated team of volunteers & supporters who made our campaign possible,” Kesarwani said in a tweet. “I’m so proud of our record over the last 4 years, and our re-election campaign.”
Mikiten received the second highest number of votes with 2,388 in comparison to Kesarwani’s 2,877. A partner at Mikiten Architecture and an affordable housing planner, Mikiten’s campaign centered on finding solutions to houselessnes and prioritizing affordable housing throughout the city.
She received endorsements from Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn, former city councilmember Linda Maio, Bay Nature Institute Founding Board Chair Larry Orman and local restaurant owner Jim Maser.
“I agreed to be a candidate as a part of the team, but that’s just one of the jobs,” Mikiten previously told the Daily Cal. “There are so many other people doing all of the other jobs to make this possible.”
Freeman received the lowest number of votes during the election with 485 total. Currently volunteering as a chair for the Berkeley Commission on Disability while working in direct sales, Freeman campaigned on the basis of securing more affordable housing, establishing equitable policies, making city government more transparent and providing work opportunities for students.
She was endorsed by former city mayor Gus Newport, former city councilmember Max Anderson and the Berkeley Neighborhoods Council.
“Thank you, District 1, for re-electing me to serve as your Councilmember for a second term,” Kesarwani said in a tweet. “It is with tremendous gratitude that I declare victory.”