Urquhart to announce if he will run for sheriff

Islander and former King County Sheriff media spokesman, John Urquhart, to announce plans Tuesday in Seattle

John Urquhart, former King County Sheriff’s Office media spokesman, expects to formally announce Tuesday that he’s running for King County Sheriff.

Urquhart sent an email Monday afternoon to reporters that he will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle to make “an important announcement.”

If Urquhart decides to run, he would be up against interim Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent Police chief, on November’s ballot to replace Sue Rahr. Rahr resigned in March to become director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission in Burien.

Urquhart, 64, of Mercer Island, said in an email Thursday that he still wants to talk with his second oldest daughter, who is 27, after she flies into town Monday from her home in New York before making an official decision to run.

“I have not had a chance to go over the ramifications of a run for Sheriff with her one-on-one,” Urquhart said. “So we will have a family meeting, and assuming I get buy-in from everyone, I will formally announce my candidacy sometime next week.

“Frankly, I’m assuming they will be okay with this so my planning is for an affirmative announcement. However, I am duty-bound to give them the option.”

Urquhart retired in 2011 after 24 years with the Sheriff’s Office. He worked many years as the media spokesman and also served as a patrol officer, field training officer, narcotics and vice detective and as an administrative aide to Rahr and former Sheriff Dave Reichert.

“Obviously I’ve got lots of reasons for running,” Urquhart said. “But I’m going to hold off talking about that until next week.”

There’s an outside chance Urquhart might not run after discussions with his wife and two adult daughters.

“If anyone in the family has second thoughts or pushes back, then I will not run,” he said. “If ever there was a time “for family” (at my age!), it’s now. And politics can be brutally ugly. They need to be ready for this and with a clear understanding of what’s involved or what could be said going in.”

Strachan, 47, became Chief Deputy of the King County Sheriff’s Office in January 2011 after serving nearly five years as Kent’s Police chief. He previously was Chief of Police in Lakeville, Minn.

Rahr appointed Strachan in March as interim Sheriff and the King County Council appointed him to the position April 2.

Strachan and Urquhart must file by mid-May to run for Sheriff to complete Rahr’s four-year term that expires the end of 2013. Strachan has said he plans to run for the position.