SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Councilman Sam Liccardo appears to have a narrow victory over county Supervisor Dave Cortese in Tuesday’s contest to become the next mayor of San Jose.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, with all precincts reporting, Liccardo took home 51 percent of the vote. But the race could be decided by absentee ballots turned in at the polls that will not be counted until later Wednesday and this week.

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“We’re cautiously optimistic Sam will be elected mayor,” Liccardo campaign manager Ragan Henninger said early Wednesday morning after the candidate’s party ended without a final result.

Henninger said the campaign learned that an unknown number of absentee ballots were turned in at polling places Tuesday in San Jose and the Santa Clara County registrar’s office had locked them up for the night and
will not count them overnight.

A recent KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll showed the mayor’s race was up for grabs. While Cortese led Liccardo 44 percent to 38 percent, 19 percent of voters surveyed said they were undecided days before Tuesday’s election.

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Cortese has the backing of the police union, whose president told KPIX 5 that officers would leave if Liccardo was elected. Liccardo had backed a voter-approved pension reform measure that requires city workers to pay more into their pensions.

Liccardo received endorsements from Mayor Chuck Reed, former Mayor Susan Hammer and the San Jose Mercury News. Along with the police union, Cortese was endorsed by firefighters and the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.

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