Perata thought the Oakland mayor's race was his to win, but he lost despite collecting more first choice votes than any of the other 10 candidates.
"The results are pretty clear and the people of this city, years ago, voted for ranked choice voting and we had ranked choice voting and these are the results," he said.
The results gave City Councilwoman Jean Quan a slim 2,000 vote lead; nearly 51 percent to Perata's 49 percent. The former state senator says he has no plans to contest.
"I'm not going to lead that charge and if people feel strongly enough about it, they will," he said.
Under Oakland's new ranked choice system, voters chose their top three candidates. When no candidate received the majority vote in the first round, the second and third choice votes were distributed. Quan received more of those second and third votes.
There will be no run-off and Perata says voters were confused, but ranked choice advocates say the confused one is Perata.
"I think he's using the word 'won' in one meaning of the term. He certainly did not get 50 plus percent of the votes on the first round," ranked choice voting advocate Judy Cox said.
On her first day as mayor-elect, Quan received a standing ovation from students in Oakland's Chinatown and she defended her win.
"I think it's hard for some people to accept the fact that I've won, and that I didn't spend $3 million and that I am the first woman and Asian American mayor, but I think it's a proud moment for Oakland," she said.
Quan plans to invite Perata to lunch, and Perata says he plans to congratulate Quan on her win, but he hasn't done it yet.
"I will be calling her and I don't know when," Perata said.
Quan is moving ahead with plans to hire a transition team. She says her priorities are public safety, jobs and young people. She will succeed Mayor Ron Dellums in January. Meanwhile, Perata plans to go back to life as a regular citizen.