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Did Quan's Rap Video Sway Voters?

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"DREAM A Better Oakland" with Jean Quan, Vice Mayor & Mayoral Candidate 2010

After elections officials on Wednesday declared Jean Quan, the popular Oakland city councilwoman, the city's next mayor, political observers pored over the varied factors that catapulted Quan past Don Perata, the influential former president of the California state Senate, to be crowned the first Asian-American and woman leader of the city in its 158-year history.

Was it due to a progressive wave of young voters — energized by Prop. 19 — who swarmed the polls? Or was it the vagaries of the ranked-choice voting system that was implemented for the first time in Oakland? Or a broad-based anti-Don Perata sentiment?

But in such a tight race, perhaps it was the accumulation of small advantages, such as a low-budget rap video released by Quan's campaign — showing the candidate driving while casually nodding along with youngsters beside her in her Toyota Prius — that proved decisive.

Susan Piper, Quan's spokeswoman, said her strategists were still conducting a postmortem on their improbable victory, but did not rule out the possibility that the video played a role in the outcome.

"We don't know yet," Piper said in an interview, "because we haven't analyzed the data."

One thing is certain, though: Don Perata did not have a rap video.

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