Updated 12:26 a.m.
Though it remained a close race, Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk called it a night early, confident in his cushy lead.
“The results are looking good and I’m about to go to bed,” Quirk told Patch at about 10:45 p.m., when just over half of the 352 voting precincts had reported their results. “Whatever the results are, they’ll be the same if I’m awake or asleep.”
As of 12:38 a.m. Wednesday, with precincts reporting, Quirk had received 46,294 votes (51 percent) over optometrist Jennifer Ong, who had 44,016 votes (49 percent).
Both Democrats, the Quirk and Ong advanced in the June primary for the newly drawn district after knocking out Union City Mayor Mark Green, Union City school board member Sarabjit Cheema and Republican Luis Reynoso.
“I’ve got a good start and I’ve got a strong campaign to run in November to win, and I will,” a confident Quirk told Patch in June. Quirk led the primary with the most votes, clocking 11,773 at the end of the night on June 5.
Despite trailing by about 2,000 votes all night, Ong and her team remained hopeful into the early morning.
Supporters were still gathered just before midnight at Ong’s campaign headquarters in Union City.
“We’re going to win, we’re going to win, we’re going to win,” a campaign volunteer chanted.
A newcomer who managed to surpass opponents with years of public service in the June primary, Ong ran a tight campaign, due in part to large support from young and minority voters.
If she were to be elected, Ong would have become the first Filipina to hold office in the State Assembly.
Tuesday afternoon, the optometrist from Hayward, who practices in Alameda, was busy calling voters at her campaign headquarters in Union City.
Ong and her team of volunteers — dubbed “JENerators” — stationed themselves at several BART stations within the district and held a small breakfast rally at the Sunol Railroad Café in Sunol.
By late Tuesday night, Ong’s morale seemed unfazed.
“So far, so good,” the State Assembly hopeful said. “We’re patient. We’ve been patient all this time.
Regardless of the apparent loss, Ong said she’s happy in that she’s accomplished her primary goals.
“One of our goals was to get more people to vote, and we’ve done that,” she said. “Everything else is icing on the cake.”
She said she’ll continue to run for office in future elections.
“It’s about empowering the next generation to not give up,” Ong said.