There’s something strange going on in the City by the Bay after yesterday’s municipal elections, but I suspect that it’s far too early to get very excited about it. San Francisco voters went to the polls and rejected their sheriff who had become something of the face of the so called “sanctuary city” and they did so by a wide margin. (Fox News)

Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi convincingly lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after spending months in the national spotlight as the face of his city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration.

Mirkarimi, 54, was defeated by Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff’s official who had the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the sheriff deputies association. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Henessy had received 63 percent of the vote to 31 percent for Mirkarimi.

Mirkarimi was at the helm of the Sheriff’s department when Francisco Sanchez was released in defiance of immigration law requirements, only to go on to murder Kate Steinle this summer. Hennessy, the incoming Sheriff, has been critical of the policy in the past.

Hennessy has previously said the sheriff’s order barring the San Francisco jail from cooperating with immigration officials is misguided. There are cases, she said, when federal immigration officials should be notified that the jail is about to release an inmate who is in the country illegally.

Those are actually some fairly milquetoast comments which would still be seen as heavily liberal leaning anywhere outside of the nation’s most progressive urban hubs, but it’s still better than nothing. Being willing to admit that there may be some cases where local law enforcement should actually enforce the law in terms of federal immigration statutes may be a baby step in the right direction, but it’s at least a step.

Still, it looks like Mirkarimi had some other problems brewing before election time rolled around. We’re not talking about huge scandals here, but the local reporting does indicate that he had his driver’s license suspended for a short time when he failed to report a minor car accident and he failed his marksmanship test earlier in the year. Some other, more serious allegations dealt with a high profile escape at the jail (bringing his leadership and security handling into question) and a case where jailers were staging fights between inmates for gambling purposes. (But if the boys are going to scrap anyway, making a few bucks off the deal is just old fashioned capitalism, really.)

So were the voters sending a message on the Sheriff’s sanctuary city status or did they just not care for the job Mirkarimi was doing in general? They keep electing the same old progressives to other leadership positions in the city and in October their board of supervisors unanimously gave a thumbs up to a resolution keeping the city’s sanctuary status in place. It doesn’t sound like the voters have let the murder of one of their own residents by a violent illegal alien felon put them off their feed all that much or we’d have seen more people in city government getting the boot.

We’ll put a bookmark on this one and see if there is any more movement in San Francisco in the direction of sanity. At this point I’m not holding my breath.