Hispanic groups urge Penzone to stay in sheriff's race
PHOENIX -- Some of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's critics said Tuesday's election may not be over.
Democratic candidate Paul Penzone ended his campaign with a concession speech in which he said that "it looks like the numbers are going to be insurmountable. Unfortunately, it didn't work out in our favor."
The latest election results showed Penzone still trailed Arpaio by about nine percentage points, but Randy Parraz of the Hispanic rights group Citizens for a Better Arizona said the election isn't over. There are 420,000 early and provisional ballots that haven't been counted.
Parraz claimed that most of the ballots are from Hispanic areas that are strongholds for both Penzone and Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona, who lost to Republican Jeff Flake.
Parraz argued that both Penzone and Carmona should retract their concession speeches until all of the votes are counted.
"I don't give a (expletive) about what the political strategists tell you what to do," said Parraz. "I don't care if a strategist says you should concede. What about the voters? What about the people who went out there and knocked on doors for Paul Penzone and Richard Carmona?"
Meanwhile, several Hispanic groups are holding a vigil outside of the Maricopa County Election building on Thursday. They're demanding that County Recorder Helen Purcell provide a full accounting of mistakes they said were made on Election Day and the ballots that have yet to be counted.
Purcell issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that "every effort is being made to complete the processing and tabulation of the 2012 General Election early ballots and provisional ballots."
Bob McClay, Reporter