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Expat election tally: 2 wins; 8 losses.

The final tally for Iranian-American candidates in last week's US elections is two wins and eight losses, both wins by Democrats.

The first win was by the candidate seeking the highest office this year. Baltimore-born Cyrus Habib was elected lieutenant governor of Washington State with a substantial margin of 55 percent.

The second win was by Iran-born Ahsha Safai to a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Only Democrats have a chance in San Francisco, but they are divided into "moderate" and "progressive" factions. The moderates are what most of the rest of the country calls liberal and the progressives are what others call radical.

Safai is a moderate, and his victory was noted citywide because it changed the makeup of the Board of Supervisors from a 6-5 progressive majority to a 6-5 moderate majority.

Safai becomes the second Iranian-American to serve on the Board of Supervisors. More than a decade ago, Chicago-born Ross Mirkarimi won a seat on the Board as a progressive and stayed there until he was elected sheriff

On the other side of the city last week, Marjan Ghafourpour Philhour was an Iranian-Filipina-American running as a moderate against another progressive, Sandra Lee Fewer. That race involved 10 candidates. Philhour came in a very strong second. Only Philhour and Fewer were taken seriously by the voters.

More than a decade ago, San Francisco adopted what is sometimes called Instant Runoff Voting. Voters do not vote for one candidate. They rank the candidates on their ballots. The purpose is to make sure that the winner has an absolute majority of the vote.

After the first place choices are counted, if no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped and his voters second choices are counted and distributed among the others. This process is repeated until someone gets a majority.

This method of voting has been adopted by only a few other communities around the United States. The benefit is that it means the winner has the support of a majority while voters do not have to return to the polls for a second round of run-off voting, when the turnout is commonly much lower.

In Philhour's race, this process required 10 rounds. The official tabulation by the San Francisco Elections Board is re-produced here. After the first round, Fewer had 38.7 percent of the vote and Philhour 35.4 percent. Philhour was behind by 3.27 percentage points. Over successive rounds Philhour narrowed that to 2.47 points. But in Round 10, when the last candidate was dropped, most of his voters went with Fewer and she won by 4.16 percentage points. Philhour had 47.9 percent of the vote to Fewer's 52.1 percent.

In Safai's district, there were five candidates. Safai led after the first round by 6.5 percentage points with 38.7 percent of the vote to progressive Kim Alvarenga's 32.2 percent. Safai led every successive round and won in Round 5 with 53.0 percent to Alvarenga's 47.0 percent.

In the election for which no results were available last week, Daniel Emilio Sabzehzar failed to win a seat on the Merced City Council in northern California. A college student, he came in second in a three-person race.

Here are the final numbers for the elections last week that involved Iranian-Americans.

Washington State Lieutenant Governor

   D-CYRUS HABIB           1,418,573     54.8%
   R-Marty McClendon       1,171,135     45.2%

US Congress Tennessee 3rd District

   R-Chuck Fleischmann *   176,410       66%
   D-MELODY SHEKARI 7      6,664         29%
   I-Rick Tyler            5,091         2%
   I-Cassandra Mitchell    5,069         2%
   I-Topher Kerstung       2,489         1%

US Congress California 45th District

   R-Mimi Walters *        127,705       59.5%
   D-RON VARASTEH          86,894        40.5%

Orange County, California--State Assembly

   R-Steven Choi *         78,855        60.9%
   D-SEAN JAY PANAHI       50,632        39.1%

Orange County, CA--Newport Beach City Council

   Will O'Neill            13,077        50.3%
   Phil Greer              6,965         26.8%
   FRED AMERI              5,980         23.0%

Orange County, Calif--Irvine City Council

VOTE FOR TWO

   Christina Shea *        18,539        20.6%
   Melissa Fox             16,134        17.9%
   Anthony Kuo             13,732        15.2%
   Farrah Khan             10,284        11.4%
   SHIVA FARIVAR            6,368         7.1%
   Anila Ali                6,212         6.9%
   Dale Cheema              5,948         6.6%
   Courtney Santos          4,147         4.6%
   Mathew Ehorn             3,163         3.5%
   Hyunjoung Ahn            2,867         3.2%
   Ian Daelucian            2,706         3.0%

Merced County, Calif--Merced City Council

   Matthew Serratto         1,216        50.1%
   DAVID SABZEHZAR            798        32.9%
   Denise Rossi               413        17.0%

Santa Clara County, CA--Los Gatos Union School Dist

   VOTE FOR TWO
   Daniel Snyder            5,106        34.4%
   Stephen Dale Parsons     5,042        33.9%
   MANI FARHADI             4,714        31.9%


City elections are non-partisan in California so no party identification is listed.

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Title Annotation:Diaspora: Around the globe
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Nov 18, 2016
Words:815
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