PLEASANT HILL -- The suspense over who would win the tight race for the third City Council seat ended Monday with the announcement that Tim Flaherty had defeated Jim Bonato by 108 votes.

Flaherty finished with 4,698 votes to Bonato's 4,590. Bonato said he is disappointed by the outcome, but won't pursue a recount.

"I think the city is still in good hands. Tim has been on the Planning Commission for a while and certainly can step up to the City Council. Ken Carlson is a fresh voice and we can always use another opinion or another viewpoint to take a look at the issues before the council," Bonato said.

Flaherty, who could not be reached for comment, never lost his election night lead during the month the Contra Costa County Elections Division staff spent counting thousands of mail-in and provisional ballots.

"I was really surprised at the closeness and I was surprised that it took so long to get finality on this issue," Bonato added. "But it is what it is. As I saw the gap getting a little bit wider and a little bit wider, I could begin reading the tea leaves and see it wasn't going in my direction."

Bonato said he plans to remain on the Planning Commission and continue his work with the Community Emergency Response Team, whose members were filling sand bags last weekend when the third "Pineapple Express" storm lashed the Bay Area.


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Incumbent Councilman David Durant easily took first place with 6,285 votes. Carlson, a Concord police officer who enjoyed strong financial backing from the Pleasant Hill Police Officers' Association, placed second with 5,703 votes. Durant, Carlson and Flaherty will be sworn in at the Dec. 17 council meeting.

Contact Lisa P. White at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.

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