PHOENIX - Whatever your opinion of Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell right now, I'll tell you this: She is the only elected official I know of who would agree to an interview the day after a public humiliation like the one she endured Monday.
Most politicians would run and hide. Not Purcell.
She did greet me warily Tuesday afternoon at her ballot-counting center south of downtown Phoenix
But as she settled into the conversation, Purcell admitted she was rattled by voters' rage at Monday's special hearing of the House Elections Committee.
Many described hours-long waits or other hurdles to vote in the March 22 presidential primary. Some simply went off on Purcell.
"To be that vicious, I've not seen that before," Purcell said.
But she's not quitting as the county's top elections official, a job she's held for 27 years.
Purcell says she will run the three remaining elections this year - the special statewide vote May 17; the state and federal primaries in August; and the general election in November.
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"Yes I will, without a doubt," she said. "Unless I drop dead tomorrow. But yes, without a doubt."
Purcell was front and center during the 3 1/2-hour House Election Committee hearing Monday. She explained to committee members what went wrong, as the packed crowd of almost 200 groaned and jeered.
When it was time for the public to speak to the committee, Purcell was sitting about five feet away as speakers yelled, screamed and berated her.
Purcell would gaze stoically at each speaker. Many were upset that Purcell didn't react to them; she says she knew they wanted her to react but she was determined not to. What was she thinking?
"I was trying to remember something my late husband told me years ago," she said. "He said (to her). 'You could never play poker, because you can't keep a poker face.' I kept thinking, 'I have to.'"
But Purcell was shaken. "A lot," she said. Were there tears? "Not there, but yeah."
Purcell might be shaken, but she's not stirred. She believes voters still have confidence in her.
"Some of them have said, 'We were unhappy on election day standing in line, but you're doing a good job and keep doing it,'" Purcell said. "'Stay strong.' I can't tell you how many times I've heard that."