San Fran sheriff may lose re-election bid Tuesday after giving sanctuary to Kate Steinle killer

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is learning what happens when you allow local sanctuary city politics to trump immigration law.

It may cost him his re-election bid Tuesday.

Hennessy and Mirkarimi
Hennessy and Mirkarimi

No one gave much thought to the Golden Gate City’s status as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants — until July 1, when Kathryn “Kate” Steinle died in her father’s arms after being shot by Francisco Sanchez.

Sanchez was an illegal alien with a felony record who’d been deported back to his native Mexico five times. He was also released from Mirkarimi’s jail days before the shooting, despite a federal detention request.

“I’m in the redemption industry,” said Mirkarimi, 54, a registered Democrat, according to Fox News. “I believe in second chances.”

Apparently he believes in third, fourth and fifth chances also.

In the last 60 years, only two incumbent San Francisco sheriffs have lost re-election bids; Vicki Hennessy, 62, a retired sheriff’s department employee who’s challenging Mirkarimi, hopes to make it three.

And his decision to release Sanchez may be all she needs to upset the political applecart.

“The department needs leadership,” Hennessy said. “It needs its credibility restored.”

There have been other bumps in the road for Mirkarimi, including getting a failing grade at the gun range, and getting his driving privileges temporarily suspended — but the Sanchez release is the biggie.

And if public sentiment can be measured in dollars and cents, it seems to be all in Hennessy’s favor — her campaign has raised $288,000 to his $109,000, and she also managed to capture the endorsements of the mayor and the unions representing the county jail employees.

“I never expected to run,” said Hennessy, who only did so at the encouragement of Mayor Ed Lee and others.

Hennessy joined the department 40 years ago and rose to chief deputy, the third-highest ranking position in the office before her retirement.

Hennessy also seems to have the endorsement of social media.

And finally, you can’t talk illegal immigration without bringing this name up.


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