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Gascon, Mirkarimi Likely Winners For SF District Attorney, Sheriff

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, the city's former police chief, held a commanding lead in his bid for election as top prosecutor following the release of the latest ranked-choice voting results on Wednesday afternoon.

The ranked-choice votes also showed that City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was likely to beat his opponents to become San Francisco's new sheriff.

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With about 85 percent of the ballots counted in both races, Gascon was beating his nearest competitor, criminal justice scholar and former SFPD commissioner David Onek, by a 64 to 36 percent margin.

Gascon also ran far ahead of Sharmin Bock, who currently serves as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, as well as former deputy public defender Vu Trinh and defense attorney Bill Fazio, an ex-prosecutor in his fourth bid for DA.

Gascon was San Francisco's police chief when former Mayor Gavin Newsom named him district attorney in January to replace Kamala Harris following her election as California attorney general. His opponents had attacked him for having no criminal trial experience as a lawyer.

In the sheriff's race, Mirkarimi had about 53 percent of the vote in Wednesday's tally compared to 47 percent for sheriff's Capt. Paul Miyamoto. Chris Cunnie, an advisor to the attorney general with three decades in law enforcement, ended up far behind after initially being in a dead heat with Miyamoto for second place in Tuesday night's tally of first-choice votes.

Popular Sheriff Michael Hennessey, stepping down after three decades, had endorsed Mirkarimi.

Election officials said ranked-choice votes had been tallied on about 150,000 ballots as of Wednesday afternoon following 11 rounds of assigning second- and third-place votes. The process began after first-choice results from Tuesday's election produced no candidate with a majority of the vote in either the DA or sheriff races.

Department of Elections director John Arntz said, however, that he wasn't officially calling the races over. The
department still must tabulate more votes -- including about 25,000 vote-by-mail ballots that had yet to be counted, as well as about 7,500 provisional ballots.

Arntz said he expected that those votes would be counted by the end of the weekend.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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