Maricopa County’s Hickman calls Chucri situation a ‘bit of a shock’
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman said Wednesday it’s been difficult to process the whirlwind that culminated with the resignation of Republican colleague and close friend Steve Chucri.
“We’re trying to get over a little bit of a shock about what was said on the secret audio,” Hickman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show the morning after Chucri announced he will step down Nov. 5.
“We’re friends, we’re colleagues, and, you know, politics is rough and tumble, and I think we’re trying to process that a little bit.”
Chucri issued a statement Tuesday night saying he was stepping down from his District 2 seat on the board that governs Arizona’s largest county effective Nov. 5 after serving for nine years.
The announcement came after conservative website Gateway Pundit released secret recordings of Chucri from a March 22 meeting with leaders from a group called We the People AZ Alliance as well as a Jan. 22 phone call in which he discussed the then-proposed audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election.
In the audio, Chucri said Hickman “just didn’t have the guts” for an election review.
Chucri also suggested that fellow GOP Supervisors Bill Gates and Jack Sellers were scared by the idea of an audit because their own races were close and could be overturned.
“I’ve never been afraid of an audit,” Hickman said. “We performed audits through the election and we performed two audits with independent certified technicians looking at the things I thought we were all looking at in March.”
Hickman said he hasn’t talked to Chucri since Tuesday night’s announcement.
“I know Steve. I know Steve’s integrity and character, and I would assume that he’s hurting right now,” Hickman said.
“And I will not be seeking out Steve because I know that he’s going to eventually seek me out and we can have a talk about it.”
Hickman agreed with Chucri’s resignation letter reference to a toxic political environment, but he said that didn’t apply to interactions among the supervisors.
“I have seen this, but that is not true when it comes to my colleagues on the board,” Hickman said. “We might not see things eye to eye, but this board is known for coming together and taking votes, and sometimes they align with each other and sometimes they don’t.
“But we truly have great respect, up and down the line, for both the people that are on the board that are elected, our other electeds, as well as all of our workers in elections and anything in public service for our constituents.”
Despite what Chucri said in the audio, he’s stood firm with the other four supervisors in opposing the Cyber Ninjas-led audit authorized by Arizona Senate Republicans. The review started in April, and the results are expected to be released on Friday.
“The picture some individuals are trying to paint about a cover-up, scam and other nonsense about my colleagues and myself is simply false,” he said in his resignation letter. “There was no cover-up, the election was not stolen. Biden won.”
He also apologized and said, “My colleagues have every right to be both angry and disappointed with me.”
“Steve is a great friend of mine,” Hickman said. “I am going to forgive him, and I am going to forget this and always roll towards our friendship.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.