PHOENIX - One week after Election Day and after almost three decades in office, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has conceded the race for re-election.
"I want to congratulate Adrian Fontes on a hard fought race and give my word that I will do everything I can to make this a seamless transition," Purcell said in a statement on Tuesday.
Democrat Adrian Fontes held a slim lead over Purcell Monday with around 100,000 ballots remaining to be counted.
Purcell, the longest serving elected official in the state, has come under fire this past year for issues with voting, including long lines that left voters waiting for hours to cast a vote in the presidential preference election in March.
Purcell also faced criticism for issues with mistakenly printed ballots in April, a mistake that cost taxpayers $400,000.
She barely won a close primary race.
Statement from Purcell:
Twenty-eight years ago, Maricopa County voters gave me the honor to serve as County Recorder. Throughout that time we’ve built one of the most revered recording systems in the country, and led the charge to make registering to vote and voting more accessible than ever.
This election the voters spoke once again.
I want to congratulate Adrian Fontes on a hard fought race and give my word that I will do everything I can to make this a seamless transition.
I want to express my appreciation to everyone who voted, regardless of how they voted. I’ve spent my career dedicated to our election process, and there is no greater joy than seeing such high turnout and participation.
Most importantly I want to thank the hardworking women and men in my office for their tireless service. I’m forever grateful to have served alongside this team, and I’m eternally indebted to the residents and voters of Maricopa County for affording me the opportunity. It has been the pleasure and privilege of a lifetime, and one I will never take for granted—just as I hope you will never take for granted this awesome and truly American responsibility of participating in the electoral process.
Fontes accepted Purcell's concession with the following statement:
I have just read Helen Purcell's press advisory and accept her most gracious concession in our race. First and foremost, I would like to thank Helen for her years of service to our county and for the honorable way she conducted herself in this campaign. Ours was a contest of issues, ideas and performance, and should serve as an example for all campaigns conducted in Arizona.
Next, I want to reach out to EVERY eligible citizen voter in Maricopa County, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you are a Green or a Libertarian, Independent or member of some other party, in my mind you are a citizen and a voter, and in my administration you will be respected as such without any regard to your political affiliation.
In this ball game we call politics, I don’t enter the stadium to compete on the field, but instead I enter as an umpire, I am here to call balls and strikes - my job – this job – is to call balls and strikes with integrity, with accountability and with a full-throttle effort to make sure every eligible citizen is able to register and to vote. This is my commitment to you, to all voters.
Over the next few weeks I look forward to working with Mrs. Purcell and her team at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office as we move into the transition.