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London Breed Claims Victory In San Francisco Mayor's Race

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, claimed victory Wednesday in the city's mayoral race following a concession speech by her remaining opponent.

Former state Senator Mark Leno conceded the San Francisco mayoral race to Breed at a news conference earlier Wednesday.

Breed spoke at a 3 p.m. news conference in front of City Hall, thanking her supporters for their efforts in getting her elected while saying it was time to move on from the often contentious campaign to come together and focus on making San Francisco a better place.

"I have said from the beginning, whether you voted me or not, as mayor I will be your mayor too," Breed said on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall.

Breed stressed that unity was the best way for San Francisco to solve the problems the city faces.

"We know that so many people care about this city. So many people care about making sure that we're coming together to address these most challenging issues," Breed said. "And I am prepared to make sure that I do everything that I can to work together, to bring the Board of Supervisors together, to bring everyone together for the purpose of solving our most challenging problems."

Breed also spoke of how she hoped that her victory would serve as an inspiration for the young people of San Francisco.

"I'm a native San Franciscan and I grew up in some of the most challenging circumstances. And the reason why I feel so incredible about this is because the message this sends to the young people growing up in this city. That no matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life,  you can do anything you want to do. Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life," Breed said.

Leno trailed Breed by 1,861 votes with more to be counted when he announced his decision. By Wednesday afternoon, Breed's advantage had grown to over 2,100 votes.

"I called Supervisor London Breed this morning to congratulate her on her victory and to wish her every success both personally and professionally in her new job as mayor of San Francisco," Leno said. "She was very gracious."

Leno called his opponent "a remarkable young woman."

"I'm told that this may be one of the, if not the closest electoral decision for a mayor in San Francisco," he said. "I think the election will be remembered as is this time in San Francisco to be remembered. As a very challenging time for us. The old notion of a 'Tale Of Two Cities' is to clique at this point. But we have the best and the worst of the worlds going on right now."

San Francisco Director of the Department Of Elections John Arntz said it was still mathematically possible for Leno to come back, but Leno's campaign has been following the trends and said that was highly unlikely.

As for his future plans Leno said: "I have the rare opportunity to take a moment and decide what I want to be when I grow up."

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim who ran a distant third in the balloting also offered her congratulation to Breed.

"I want to offer my congratulations to London Breed who has prevailed in this election and will soon be declared the winner," she said in a prepared statement. "I'm proud to live in the largest city in America with a woman as mayor. I also want to thank Mark Leno and acknowledge his nearly two decades of service as a publicly elected official who has accomplished so much on behalf of our city."

Acting Mayor Mark Farrell also offered his congratulations.

"I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Mayor-Elect London Breed on her election victory," he said in a prepared statement. "I commit my full support, both personally, and through my staff, to make this transition between our administrations as smooth as possible."

As of Tuesday, Breed -- who is president of the Board of Supervisors and filled in as mayor for several weeks after the December death of Mayor Ed Lee, remained ahead of Leno with 111,446 votes, translating to 50.42 percent. Leno had received 109,585 votes, or 49.58 percent, according to San Francisco election officials.

Tuesday marked the fourth straight day Breed maintained a lead over Leno, who initially led the race, according to last week's election numbers.

On Monday, the elections department included about 9,000 votes that were tallied since Sunday. Additionally, elections officials said they are still processing more than 17,000 ballots.

The mayoral vote reflects San Francisco ranked-choice voting, in which voters mark their first, second and third choices. As candidates with fewer votes are successively eliminated, their supporters' votes are given to their other choices.

"The most important thing now is that every single vote must be counted," Breed campaign consultant Marjan Philhour said in the statement released Tuesday. "Debates about the Ranked Choice system can come later, this is the system we had going in, and it's the system we have coming out. We are pleased to see RVC outcomes, first choice margins, and citywide pluralities converging towards one clear leader, and that leader is London Breed."

The winner of the mayoral race will serve the remainder of Lee's term, which runs through January 2020.

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