Former Rep. Ron Dellums appeared to win the Oakland mayor's race outright late Friday, after the final ballot count showed he got the simple majority of votes needed to avoid a November runoff.
Officials, however, have until July 4 to certify the election results.
Dellums was the top vote-getter among a field of six with 50.2 percent, while City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente was in second place with 33.0 percent, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel was a distant third with 13.1 percent.
The county's return to paper ballots and a shortage of optical scanners to process those ballots delayed the final vote count. The county went back to low-tech voting after 4,000 Diebold Election Systems touch-screen machines failed to meet federal and state standards for last week's election.
Dellums and De La Fuente had seemed headed for a runoff, with Dellums' totals hovering just below the 50 percent he needed to win during the last few days of the vote count.
Both Democrats campaigned to replace former Gov. Jerry Brown, who was termed out of the job and won the Democratic nomination for attorney general last week.
The new mayor starts the job on Jan. 1, 2007.
During the campaign, De La Fuente emphasized his experience in city government and portrayed himself as the man who helped turn Brown's big ideas — like getting more people to live downtown — into reality.
Dellums, a former Marine who once headed the powerful House Armed Services Committee during his 27 years in Congress, cast himself as a bridge-builder who could unite Oakland's diverse communities and find solutions to its crime and education problems.