When the county's updated vote count came out on Friday, Nov. 18, Portola Valley Mayor Craig Hughes said he was ready to accept defeat against retired family physician Mary Hufty in the race for Portola Valley Town Council.
Hufty could not immediately be reached for a comment on her win, but she is set to take third place in the race for three seats on the council, behind Planning Commissioners Judith Hasko and Craig Taylor. Hufty received 1,278 votes (18%) while Hughes had 1,244 votes (17.5%), according to the latest vote count on Monday, Nov. 21.
"Running for the Portola Valley Town Council has been a humbling and educational
experience," Hufty said in a Nov. 23 statement. "I am grateful for the engagement of each of the candidates and to the serving council who has given so much time and talent to the well-being of the town. Residents can expect honesty, transparency and
inclusion from me. I will do my best in this leadership role and act with courtesy and curiosity. If I fail on any issues, I want to be held accountable and I will do my best to do better on the next try. In exchange, I ask my fellow residents to stay engaged! We need everyone's expertise, organizational time and talent to sustain and further our unique role in the Bay Area.”
Hughes was slightly ahead of Hufty earlier on election night, but Hufty, who also ran for council in 2020, overtook him by the end of the evening.
"Well I guess I lost in the end," Hughes said in a Nov. 18 tweet. "A real nail-biter as the weeks of counting wound on. Outspent by 25 to 1, attacked again and again with slander and hatred, and only lost by half a percent. My best wishes to the winners and to Portola Valley; looking forward to Dec. 14. ... And a huge thank you to all my supporters through the last nine years and the race itself."
A Political Action Committee raised $40,000 to unseat Hughes and his colleagues, and endorsed Hufty, Hasko and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Dale Pfau.
Outside of PAC spending, Pfau spent the most at about $10,500, followed by Hasko ($5,500), Hufty ($3,000) and Hughes ($2,000).
On Nov. 11, Hughes and Hufty were separated by 16 votes, narrowing to just a 6-vote difference by Nov. 15. The tides turned on Nov. 16, when Hufty's lead bumped to 20 votes.
As of Monday, Hasko led with 2,098 votes, or 29.6%, followed by Taylor at 1,527 votes, or 21.5%.
"I want to extend my congratulations to Judith and Mary," said Taylor in a message to his fellow candidates. "I look forward to serving on the council with both of you alongside Sarah (Wernikoff) and Jeff (Aalfs). To Craig (Hughes) and Dale (Pfau), I look forward to continuing to work with you. Each of you has an incredible store of knowledge with respect to the issues facing the town. I ran on a platform of safety, civility, and accountability. Now is the time to act on those principles."
Hasko, the top vote-getter, said Tuesday that she is "very honored" to receive such broad support from residents.
"I congratulate Mary Hufty and Craig Taylor on their election, and I know we are all ready to start the important work of addressing the challenges we face in our town," she said.
Pfau has trailed behind other candidates with 946 votes, or 13.3%, as Nov. 21.
The Town Council will swear in new members on Dec. 14.
The only ballots left to count countywide are challenged ballots plus a small number of conditional voter registration ballots. Challenged ballots may be cured by the voter through Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.