San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi wasn’t on the ballot last week but he was watching the results in the local elections very closely—and the outcome may not have helped him sleep better. It now looks like Mirkarimi will face a recall election next year.
The Board of Supervisors last month took a vote on expelling the sheriff from office. It required a vote of nine of the 11 supervisors to boot him out. But four supervisors supported Mirkarimi, keeping him in office.
Across the city, activists who feel very strongly about the issue of spousal abuse were incensed by the vote since Mirkarimi had been put under a cloud when he grabbed his wife’s arm firmly enough to bruise her.
The activists organized to challenge the election of the one supervisor who backed Mirkarimi and had opposition on the ballot this year. That was Christina Olague, the woman who was appointed to fill Mirkarimi’s seat when he became sheriff a year ago.
But Olague got whipped at the polls Tuesday. She had only 20 percent of the vote versus 28 percent for London Breed. The rest of the vote was divided among six other candidates. Breed was not considered to stand a chance before the Mirkarimi vote. Breed is a relative moderate running in what may be the most leftist stronghold of the country—the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
The defeat of Olague has energized Mirkarimi’s opponents to talk of mounting a recall campaign. If they can get enough petition signatures, that would set up an election next year on dumping Mirkarimi from office.
Women who organized against Olague say they will decide within days whether to take on Mirkarimi. “It looks like yes,” Andrea Shorter, who is leading the nascent effort, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The outcry is definitely loud and clear. We just cannot have a sheriff who was convicted of domestic violence.”
Mirkarimi’s opponents have said they looked at the Olague vote as a surrogate for getting rid of Mirkarimi. In addition to Olague’s defeat, Supervisor Eric Marr, who voted to oust Mirkarimi, won re-election against a very well funded challenge. His vote on Mirkarimi was seen as a factor in his win.
Elsewhere, final returns in the three US elections in which Iranian-Americans were candidates last week showed slight changes in the percentages from those reported in last week’s issue, but no change in the outcomes.
Cyrus Habib was elected as a Democrat to the Washington State Assembly with 61 percent to 39 percent for his Republican opponent.
Democrat Ron Varasteh failed to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in Southern California, receiving 38 percent of the vote to Rohrabacher’s 62 percent.
In Maryland, Sohrab Sobhani received a striking 17 percent of the vote for senator, a record for an independent, but came in third behind incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin with 55 percent and 27 percent for the Republican challenger.