Steve Chucri to resign after election-related records surface
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri announced he would step down after tapes of him speaking about the 2020 election and his county colleagues surfaced.
In the leaked tapes, Chucri criticized other supervisors for their lack of support for the Arizona Senate audit of the county general election, and said he believed there were fraudulent votes during of the election.
Chucri, a Republican who has represented the northeastern part of the county since 2012, apologized in his statement on Tuesday.
“The comments I made took place during a very turbulent time,” he wrote. “My colleagues have every right to be both angry and disappointed with me. I should not have made such statements and offered my sincere apologies to my colleagues.”
Chucri said his resignation would be effective on November 5.
Board Chairman Jack Sellers said he was surprised by Chucri’s resignation. He said he hadn’t told her about the recordings, nor did he believe the other supervisors had. The sellers said he didn’t even think Chucri’s resignation was an option – he was more confused with Chucri’s comments on the tapes than he was angry about them.
Majority Republican supervisors have publicly shown a united front against the Senate audit and their confidence in the county’s election results. Sellers said his goal was to get county officials to speak with one voice.
“Never at any time did I hear Steve tell me that he couldn’t come with us or that he didn’t support us.”
Chucri initially backed an audit and was the only vote in December against the Senate prosecution to try to block his subpoenas demanding ballots and voting machines for the review. His tone changed after Republican Senate leaders announced they hired Cyber Ninjas in March and have since said they did not support the audit.
Recordings reveal Chucri’s opinions on supervisors and deceased voters
In tapes released Monday on the far-right Gateway Pundit news site, Chucri spoke to leaders of the We the People AZ Alliance, a local organization that led the charge to gain support from state leaders and counties for the audit.
Shelby Busch, who founded the conservative organization in December with Steve Robinson and Eric Wnuck, told The Arizona Republic they recorded conversations with Chucri in January and March.
In a conversation, Chucri told them he was surprised by his colleagues’ opposition to the audit.
“Do you know what I think it was?” said Chucri. “Gates was scared because he barely won, and Jack was scared because he only won by 200 votes, and if there was an audit and a recount, which is bullshit. ‘Elsewhere, what would happen in those two races? And that’s far too selfish.
Chucri was referring to salespeople and supervisor Bill Gates, who won their races with tight margins in November.
In response Tuesday night, Gates and Sellers said their opposition to the audit had nothing to do with their own races, and they never told Chucri or anyone else.
“If Whitney Walker got more votes than I did,” Gates said, referring to his opponent, “I shouldn’t be serving.”
Chucri, in one of the tapes, also told them that supervisor Clint Hickman wanted to have a conversation about doing an audit late last year but “didn’t have the guts.”
Chucri said his colleagues “want to suck and kiss for your vote.”
Chucri also told them he regretted not extending the county hand count audit before certifying the vote. He said there had been fraud, although he offered no evidence for such claims in the published recording.
“I think it was done by the vote of dead people,” he said. “I think it was multifaceted. I think there’s a lot of cleaning up here.”
The county’s manual count audit in November and an independent audit of the county-commissioned voting machines in February found that the votes were being counted accurately and the machines had not been tampered with. Several court cases alleging fraud have been dismissed.
Supervisors react to resignation
Chucri’s statement on Tuesday struck a different tone, saying: “There was no cover-up.
“The election was not stolen,” he said. “Biden won.”
Chucri said in his statement that “the political landscape has changed for the worse this year”.
“The environment is forged by toxicity – and all civility and decorum no longer seem to have a place,” he wrote. “The fixation with the results and consequences of the 2020 elections has gotten out of hand.”
In his statement, he called the supervisors “good, honorable and ethical men.”
Chucri, along with the other supervisors, faced threats and harassment as they opposed their own political party against the audit – a partisan activity run by companies with no electoral experience.
Gates said he had not spoken to Chucri since the tapes were released. He said that while he was surprised to hear Chucri’s comments, he was ready to move forward working with him.
“We are professionals,” Gates said. “He is a professional … We have many years of successful collaboration.”
Gates said he was disappointed that the political environment had become so toxic “that it would cause good people to want to leave and not serve their time.”
Chucri is President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association and sits on the boards of many organizations, including the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Once Chucri steps down, supervisors will appoint another Republican to take his seat until a special election can take place, county spokesman Fields Moseley said. Voters in District 2 will elect a new seat representative in the August 2022 primary elections.
Republic reporters Robert Anglen and Richard Ruelas contributed to this article.
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