Feathered Bastard

Paul Penzone (Video), Rich Carmona Still in Play, and the Problem with Provisionals (w/Update)

Dennis Gilman and I talk to Penzone following his concession

Above is a video from election night of Democrat Paul Penzone, shortly after he conceded in the sheriff's race to Joe Arpaio. Needless to say, Penzone looks like he's been through the proverbial ringer.

I know there are those who disagree with his decision to concede. However, I think you can tell from this video that Penzone is sincere, and he made what he thought was the best decision.

Also, all bets are off if the numbers change. It's not like Penzone's concession is an oral contract. It's merely gesture, nothing more. The votes still get counted.

See also: -Ken Bennett Says 602,334 Votes Left to Be Counted Statewide -Maricopa County's Number of Remaining Ballots Unknown

"If a miracle happens, I'm a believer," he explained last night, "I believe in the Lord. Then we'll celebrate. Right now, I want to do the respectful thing, let my supporters go home, have some closure tonight. And if for some reason, we have a turn of events, we'll come right back here and celebrate it."

Which sounds like a solid plan, with 415,000 votes left to count in Maricopa County, 115,000 of them being provisional ballots.

Still, the gap between Penzone and Arpaio may narow, but is likely too deep of a hole to dig out of.

The county counted more than 44,000 ballots yesterday, but the numbers in the Penzone-Arpaio race have not budged by much. Currently the spread there is 9.48 percentage points.

It's a different story when it comes to the Rich Carmona v. Jeff Flake U.S. Senate contest, where Flake is up by a mere 79,867 votes, or 4.8 percent.

Republican golden-boy Flake must be sweating big ol' bullets right now. Yesterday, the Arizona Secretary of State's Office announced that there are more than 600,000 provisional and early ballots remaining statewide to be counted.

According to one of the savviest political experts I know, Democrat and former legislator John Loredo, Carmona could make up that gap with that's left to count, especially considering that many of the "late" ballots turned in at the polls will tend to be Democratic.

(Seems Republicans mail in their early ballots right off the bat, being the goody-two-shoes they are, while Dems tend to cogitate a bit before sending them in or dropping them off.)

"I think he's still in it ," Loredo told me of the Carmona race. "We'll know in the first couple of days what the trend is."

Loredo believes the late and provisional ballots "should break Carmona's way," and that the gap is narrow enough for Carmona to overcome.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons