After conceding defeat early Wednesday in the race for Pima County sheriff, Republican challenger Mark Napier has reconsidered.
He said later in the day he plans to wait until some of the 80,000 or so uncounted ballots are tallied before deciding whether to bow out of the race.
Napier, 50, was trailing Democratic incumbent Clarence Dupnik, 76, by 3 percent at around 1 a.m. Wednesday, when he posted a note to his supporters on Facebook conceding the election. However a call later in the day from representatives of the local Republican Party prompted him to reconsider his decision to capitulate, he said.
It could be days before a final vote count is recorded.
When Napier yielded the office to Dupnik, "I assumed there might be three or four thousand ballots that needed to be counted," he said. "I would have never conceded if I had known there were so many votes uncounted.
"The margin is only 8,400, which is less than 3 percent. We ran a very good campaign and we're eager for the rest of the ballots to be counted."
The gap has since grown to 9,600, with the most recent batch of ballots counted.
As of Wednesday, Dupnik, who has been the sheriff of Pima County since 1980, received 50 percent of the vote while Napier garnered 47 percent and Green Party candidate Dave Croteau had 3 percent.
About 4.5 percent of Pima County voters left the sheriff's race blank on their ballots, according to data from the county elections office.
"My gut tells me we could still pull this off," Napier said. "I think it's better than a 50-50 chance. We could still do this. It could be very close. I have to see at least half of those provisionals counted before I consider conceding."
Dupnik did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4191.