Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Has Gary Delagnes to Thank

Categories: Politics
There were plenty of "Zombie Candidates" in this year's race, but not Ross Mirkarimi
A favorite old Far Side comic depicts a dying duelist expiring in the arms of the ritual's adjudicator and stating "I could have sworn you said eleven paces..."

In other words, failure to comprehend the rules can result in getting a bullet in the backside. In fact, it tends to lead to it. And that brings us to the case of Sheriff-to-be Ross Mirkarimi.

Not to take away from Mirkarimi's victory -- but it always helps to have opponents who don't understand the rules of the game. Parsing the election data, it's now painfully evident that Police Officer Association boss Gary Delagnes played that role in this election.

Mirkarimi, the photogenic and well-known District 5 supervisor, eked out a notably close win over two lesser-known and more conservative opponents, longtime former cop and union honcho Chris Cunnie and Sheriff's Captain Paul Miyamoto.

It's not just a matter of conjecture that supporters of Cunnie and Miyamoto had a lot more in common with one another than with Mirkarimi's backers. The volunteers waving Cunnie and Miyamoto signs on the street told you as much. Numerous backers -- most all of them public safety workers out on their own time -- admitted to your humble narrator that either Cunnie or Miyamoto would be acceptable -- but stalwart progressive Mirkarimi "has no business running a jail."

Joe Eskenazi
The ever-quotable Gary Delagnes
Even a rudimentary understanding of how ranked-choice voting works, then, should have led both candidates to agree to mount an Anybody-But-Ross campaign. Cunnie would have implored his supporters to vote him first and Miyamoto second and Miyamoto would have done the opposite.

But this didn't happen. What's more, Delagnes, Cunnie's most vocal booster, excoriated minority law enforcement groups that had the temerity to endorse anyone but Cunnie -- and only Cunnie. It seems a large number of Cunnie's supporters followed the Delagnes line and voted solely for their preferred candidate. The result of that is Sheriff Mirkarimi.

You can see it in the election data here. At the time he was eliminated, Cunnie had just shy of 51,000 votes. Of those, Mirkarimi absorbed around 13,500 Cunnie second- and third-place votes and Miyamoto took 20,000. But 17,500 Cunnie voters didn't bother to fill in a second- or third-place choice.

Their votes -- which could have boosted Miyamoto -- went into the recycling bin. Mirkarimi only outpolled Miyamoto by some 9,000 votes. The majority of those Cunnie-and-only-Cunnie voters would have made the difference.

Delagnes, a pugnacious straight-shooter, has not returned our calls yet. But if he'd rather not talk to this reporter, it's always possible for him to phone his second- or third-favorite of my colleagues.

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Interesting comments, but from 11 months ago. I wonder what they would say now.


A large number of cops, like me, can't wait for Gary to retire!!! You disagree with this guy and like a playground bully he's ready to punch you..enough is enough just retire Gary do us a favor! !!


thanks for that, it's easy to forget not all agree with the underhanded tactics.


Miyamoto is more respected by the deputies, senior deputies, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, chief deputies, former and retired employees, program staff, medical & psych staff, other civilian employees and prisoners than Hennessey ever has through his many years as sheriff. Now a whole lot more, at least 70,000+ San Franciscans, and police and sheriff unions across the state, and know of Miyamoto, when MANY never even knew there was a sheriff department much less a sheriff in San Francisco.Miyamoto didn't lose this race, San Francisco did.


As Mirkarimi once stated at a campaign function held in D5, "once he becomes Sheriff he'll be able to make sentences disappear"! Welcome to the new San Francisco Sheriff's by the criminal!


Hennessey and Delagnes had no intentions of letting Captain Paul Miyamoto win this election. They both felt threatened by him. They got together and brought Cunnie in at the last minute to ruin it for Miyamoto. Delagnes knew exactly what he was doing and it worked perfectly. I truly do feel sorry for all the Cunnie supporters because they were duped. The PD, POA and DA have a big surprise in store because Mirkarimi hates them all.

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