Imagine that you're running for office, and you have a campaign volunteer who was willing to walk hundreds of miles, knocking on doors and talking to strangers to get you elected. How could you lose, right? Well, Jean Quan had a volunteer like that — James Vann — and he's one of the reasons why she shocked the Bay Area political world last November and defeated one of California's most well-known politicians, Don Perata, in the Oakland mayor's race. Of course, Quan had about 1,000 campaign volunteers last year, which has to be an East Bay record, but none worked harder than Vann, except maybe Quan's husband, Floyd Huen. For nearly a year, Huen and Vann traversed the city on foot. They reached two-thirds of Oakland's precincts, chatting up residents and convincing them to put Quan on their ranked-choice ballots. "It was clear to us that the race was going to be won with second- and third-place choices," Vann told the Express in a post-election interview. They were right. And they walked more than 200 miles to prove it.
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