PHOENIX — Republican Rachel Mitchell declared victory Monday morning in the special election for Maricopa County attorney.
Mitchell, who has been serving as interim county attorney since April, was leading Democrat Julie Gunnigle 52%-48%, a margin of nearly 68,000 votes, as of results released Sunday night.
Maricopa County had an estimated 94,000 ballots left to be counted and reported. Mitchell has been leading the race for much of the time since Tuesday’s election.
“As a lifelong Arizonan who has dedicated my career to the safety of our neighborhoods and families, I am deeply honored this community has overwhelmingly shown its support and trust in my leadership of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office,” she said in her statement declaring victory. “I’d also like to thank the staff at MCAO for their tireless work standing up for victims and seeking justice for those who have been wronged. It is an honor to stand with you in these efforts.
“Public safety isn’t partisan. All Arizonans demand safe communities in which to live, work and raise their children. I will continue working with law enforcement and community leaders to hold criminals accountable, increase the use of treatment to rehabilitate where appropriate, deliver justice for victims, and put the safety of Maricopa County residents first.”
Mitchell was appointed to the seat on an interim basis following the resignation of Allister Adel. Adel died a month after she stepped down.
Mitchell will now serve out the remainder of Adel’s term and be up for reelection in 2024.
It was Gunnigle’s second time as the Democratic nominee for the top spot in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. She lost to Adel by under 2 percentage points in 2020.
Gunnigle acknowledged her second defeat, but not without taking a shot at the nation’s third-largest prosecutorial agency.
“This isn’t the result we were hoping for because what it means is a continuation of the legacy of corruption within the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Maricopa County residents deserve better,” she said in a statement.
“That said, I want to thank every voter, volunteer and supporter who worked tirelessly to do better for our community. The change we need won’t happen this year, but we aren’t deterred. We vow to keep our eye on this office and, along with the community, continue to demand better for all people in Maricopa County.”