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Pima Recorder Rodriguez to leave office in 2020, after 28 years

After nearly three decades in office, F. Ann Rodriguez announced Thursday that she will not seek another term as Pima County recorder next year.

"I have enjoyed a special and rare journey for the past 27 years and appreciate the confidence and support of the registered voters by continuing to be elected," said the Democrat, who first took her office after being elected in 1992.

Noting that during her tenure, the Recorder's Office will have overseen seven presidential elections and recorded almost seven million public documents including about 28 million pages, Rodriguez said it was time for her to pass the mantle to "someone new."

"Our motto has been 'recording history one document at a time,'" said the native Tucsonan, who will be 66 next year.

Rodriguez, who was the first Hispanic woman elected to a county-wide office here, said she'll serve out her seventh four-year term, which will end next December.

Rodriguez didn't face a Republican opponent in her last election; Green Party candidate Mike Cease (now running under his party's banner for mayor of Tucson) garnered 22 percent of the vote in that 2016 race.

Rodriguez — who was still using her first name in public at the time, having not yet begun using her initial — first ran for the post in 1988, challenging incumbent recorder Richard Kennedy in the Democratic primary. She lost that race 55-45, but Kennedy — who she said was "incompetent" and part of an "old boy" network — lost to Republican candidate Mike Boyd in the general election. Four years later, Boyd successfully ran for the Board of Supervisors instead, and Rodriguez was elected as recorder. In her next election, in 1996, she didn't face a challenger — a situation that was to become familiar over the decades.

She came to her decision "after careful and extensive personal thoughts" and "this chapter of my life will close and I will begin a new journey looking forward to retirement and a spending time with my husband traveling and enjoying the things we want to do," she said in a news release from her office.

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Rodriguez's statement reviewed her performance, saying that she has upgraded technology and overseen the expansion of early voting with the Permanent Early Voting List and new voting locations.

"Currently almost 80 percent of votes case in Pima County are early ballots," she said.

"There have been abundant staff members who were fantastic, talented and dedicated staff over these 27 years assisting me in this journey by being excellent public servants," she wrote. "Many citizens have expressed to me that the Pima County Recorder's Office has been a model of integrity, efficiency and a proud example of providing outstanding service to the public."

Rodriguez found her post "challenging and rewarding," she said. "The adrenaline and intensity was always in full force during election times. As some people would say, 'they are in election mode.'"

Rodriguez expressed her thanks to her current and past staff, and "to all the media that has monitored our actions and have treated the Pima County Recorder's Office in a fair manner." She also extended "an appreciation of collegial respect" to the members of the Board of Supervisors "over the decades regardless of the issues or political party affiliation."

The $76,000 elected position is in charge of managing voter registration records in Pima County, and sending out and verifying early ballots. The Recorder's Office also maintains real estate records. In Pima County, the Recorder's Office does not count votes; that task is carried out by the staff of the Elections Department, which is not headed by a partisan official.

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Pima County Recorder's Office

F. Ann Rodriguez