King County Sheriff Steve Strachan officially conceded to longtime department spokesman John Urquhart late Thursday night in the race for a one-year term for the position. Urquhart, 64, held a 56.74-42.87 percent lead as of Monday, according to the King County Elections Department.
If confirmed, Urquhart will serve a one-year term and then face re-election next November.
Strachan conceded on his Facebook page on Nov. 8.
He wrote, “I am proud to say that I believe I am leaving this office better than I found it.”
Strachan expressed no regrets about the race.
“When I accepted this challenge, I did it with the full knowledge that it is subject to the political process,” said Strachan. “I can honestly say I would do it all again, and I have truly been honored to serve as your sheriff.”
The race was contentious at times, with both blaming each other for issues within the sheriff’s office.
Urquhart, the longtime spokesperson for the department, has served with the sheriff’s office for 24 years and was selected as officer of the year twice during his career.
“The voters have spoken with a clear voice,” said Urquhart. “They want a sheriff’s office that shares their values. They want a sheriff’s office that does not have that attitude of ‘We’re the cops, and you’re not … don’t tell us how to do our jobs.’ They want a sheriff’s office that walks among, and interacts with, the community. They want a sheriff’s office that uses force as a last resort, not the first.”
The sheriff’s office is the 13th largest sheriff’s office in the United States. It has a budget of $160 million and over 1,000 employees.
“I’ve said it many times over the last seven months: To be a police officer is an honor and a sacred trust,” said Urquhart. “The 1,000 men and women of the sheriff’s office serve the public day in and day out. The street cops, civilians, detectives and command staff are some of the best, hardest working and most ethical people I have ever met. With their help and yours, I will set a tone and culture of leadership that maintains and reinforces the trust and support of the citizens we serve.”
The King County Elections Department will certify all 2012 general election results on Nov. 27, with the Washington Secretary of State’s office certifying all results on Dec. 6.
Matt Phelps is the assistant editor of the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sister paper of the Mercer Island Reporter.