In a race that normally is quiet and goes unnoticed, Dale Presley said he is anxiously waiting for the final outcome after unofficial results show he lost Chandler's San Marcos constable race by nine votes, or .7 of a percent, so far.
He spent $100 on his campaign, walked 195 miles through the district to ask people for their vote and made 1,200 phone calls himself to come so close.
Presley, 40, a first-time Republican challenger of incumbent Kevin Jones for Chandler's San Marcos constable seat, was the early favorite in the race, leading by about 200 votes. But, as the night wore on, his lead dwindled to 100 before losing to Jones' 6,942 votes to Presley's 6,933.
However, there's still about 83,000 provisional and early ballots to be counted countywide, which likely won't be tallied until Sunday or early next week, so it remains to be seen whether there will be an automatic recount.
An automatic recount is required when the margin between the two candidates with the greatest number of votes for a particular office is either less than 0.1 percent of votes cast or does not exceed 200 votes for statewide offices or 50 votes for offices in the state Legislature, according to Arizona election law.
However in a jurisdictional race, such as for constable, an automatic recount would be triggered if the race is decided by 10 votes or less, according to Yvonne Reed, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Board of Elections.
When the canvass shows a recount is required for a statewide office or a congressional race, the Secretary of State certifies the facts requiring the recount to the superior court in Maricopa County. The court then enters an order requiring a recount in accord with state requirements regarding election vote counting. The state or county pays the costs of the recount.
Recount requests are not permitted, according to the state's election law.
Presley, a seven-year Chandler resident who graduated from the San Diego Law Enforcement Academy in 1992 and has worked as a former claims adjuster for auto insurance companies, said he has been out of work for 10 months and would like to put his experience toward the constable job.
"For not ever running for the office and coming so close, I think it's good considering I was up against someone who has been a part of the establishment for a while," Presley said. "I know anything can happen, so we'll have to wait and see how it comes out. There's something to be said for not spending a lot of money and coming this close."
Jones, who has been the constable of the San Marcos District since 1998, could not be reached for comment.