Chris Cate, District 6 council candidate (center) smiles for a selfie with supporters at the Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Updated 12:10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, 2014

Chris Cate has declared victory after taking a lead in in his San Diego City Council race against Carol Kim.

Cate, a vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, was leading Kim, an education consultant, 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent with 52.1 percent of the precincts reporting, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office.

Kim, however, is not giving up but admitted that more than 8 percentage point is difficult to over come.

Carol Kim talks with supporters at Golden Hall downtown. Photo by Chris Jennewein

“It’s a significant gap that we have to close so it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to close it,” she said. “It’s still possible so we’re going to wait until all the ballot results come in and see what that looks like at the end of the day.”

Cate, however, is not waiting, saying the voters sided with him that that’s why he’s declared himself the winner in this election.

“They agree with my experience in moving San Diego forward, moving the district forward,” he said. “So we’re happy to move forward and make sure those neighbors have a voice on the City Council.”

Kim thanked her supporters for their dedication to her and the campaign, saying they “inspired me so much.”

“I think we ran a tremendous campaign,” Kim said. “We were outspent 5-to-1 and despite that we had them against the ropes the whole entire time.”

The winner will represent District 6, which covers Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa and part of Clairemont Mesa — neighborhoods with large Asian American populations.

The race has been touted as one that will produce the panel’s first Asian American in half a century, though council President Todd Gloria is part Filipino.

“It’s about time,” Gloria said. “From to Tom Hom’s historic victory many, many decades ago to my more moderate victory to now Chris Cate joining us, Asian Americans are slowly taking our rightful place in our city’s leadership and hopefully this is the first of many to come.”

If Cate holds on to the lead, he would provide Mayor Kevin Faulconer with an additional ally on the council and reduce the Democratic majority on the technically nonpartisan panel to 5-4. A Kim victory would maintain the Democrats’ 6-3 veto-proof majority.

“Much has been made of the veto-proof majority the Council’s had for the last number of months,” Gloria said. “In fact of the matter is that there has only been one veto in the time that the Mayor Faulconer’s been in office. I don’t think it will change much of how we do business on the City Council.”

The Council adopted an incremental increase in the minimum wage in San Diego and overriding a Faulconer veto earlier this year. The ordinance was later suspended when opponents gathered enough petition signatures to force a public vote, which will likely take place in June 2016.

The seat is currently held by Lorie Zapf. When the council districts were remapped a few years ago, her residence fell into District 2, forcing her to run for re-election there. She won handily in June, as did Councilwoman Myrtle Cole and Councilman David Alvarez.

— City News Service contributed to this story