Mirkarimi Makes History by Becoming First Iranian American Sheriff in the U.S.
By PAAIA Staff
San Francisco, November 10, 2011 – Two highly successful and qualified Iranian American candidates were on the ballot on Election Day, November 8th in San Francisco. Of the two candidates, Ross Mirkarimi made history by becoming the first American of Iranian heritage to be elected Sheriff of a major metropolitan area in the United States. Though Sharmin Bock’s impressive campaign for District Attorney fell short, the election results showed significant support for her candidacy.
San Francisco uses a ranked choice voting system, which allows voters to select a first-choice candidate in the first column on the ballot, and different second- and third-choice candidates in the second and third columns on the ballot. Any candidate who receives a majority (more than 50%) of the first-choice votes is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes, the second-choice and, if necessary, third-choice votes will be counted until a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
Ross Mirkarimi, Candidate for Sheriff of San Francisco – Election results gave Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi a victory in the San Francisco Sheriff race. With only about 12,000 ballots left to count out of the approximately 194,000 cast, Mirkarimi held a comfortable enough margin to declare victory. Mirkarimi finished ten points ahead of his nearest rival (38% to 28%) after all the first round votes were counted and captured 53% of the final count, securing his victory.
A graduate of San Francisco’s Police Academy, Mirkarimi served nine years as an armed San Francisco District Attorney Investigator. Elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2004, Mirkarimi served twice as Chair of the Public Safety Committee and passed landmark community policing, police reform and re-entry legislation. San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey, Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco, and the San Francisco Democratic Party, were among the many community leaders, public officials, and organizations that endorsed Mirkarimi’s campaign.
“When he took office in 2005, District Five … was plagued with violent crime. He personally appeared at every homicide scene, pushed for more police on the streets and for foot patrols and worked to organize the community around crime — and it worked. The murder rate dropped dramatically,” explained the San Francisco Bay Guardian in a ringing endorsement of Mirkarimi’s campaign. Significantly, the Guardian withheld a recommendation to vote for any other candidate in this race where voters may cast ballots for second and third choices as well.
Sharmin Bock, Candidate for District Attorney of San Francisco – Meanwhile, appointed incumbent George Gascon held on to his seat as District Attorney with 63% of the ranked choice results. Despite running an outstanding campaign, Bock could not overcome the name recognition advantage the incumbent had in the race. She received the second highest number of votes after the first round votes were counted but was eliminated in the second round of ranked choice voting.
A tireless prosecutor and a nationally recognized leader on cutting edge criminal prosecutions including DNA cold cases and human exploitation and trafficking, Bock is the face of an emerging leadership within the city of San Francisco and the Iranian American community. Her campaign was endorsed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the National Women’s Political Caucus, San Francisco Firefighters Union, and an extensive coalition of community leaders who support her law enforcement credentials. The San Francisco Bay Guardian had recommended that San Franciscans vote for her, calling her an “experienced prosecutor” and “independent”.
Both Mirkarimi and Bock were endorsed and supported by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), the connected PAC of PAAIA. IAPAC supports and promotes the election of candidates for federal, state, and local office, regardless of party affiliation, who are attuned to the domestic needs of the of the Iranian American community. IAPAC also encourages and Iranian Americans to actively participate in the American electoral process and supports Iranian American candidates for public office.