Murphy joins sheriff's race

Candidate could face incumbent Republican John Warner

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— Steamboat Springs police Officer Dwight Murphy announced Wednesday his candidacy for Routt County sheriff.

Whether he will face fellow Republican and incumbent Sheriff John Warner in a primary remains to be seen.

Murphy is the only person who has filed a candidate affidavit for the sheriff's position, Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Wednesday.

Murphy is running on the Republican ticket, which means there will be a primary race Aug. 8 if any other Republicans -- including Warner -- decide to run for the office.

Warner said Wednesday that he's not ready to announce his re-election intentions.

"I'm not announcing my candidacy, but at this point I'm strongly considering it," Warner said. "I've been a three-term sheriff, basically the longest-serving sheriff in Routt County (history). Why would I want to give that up?"

Murphy announced his candidacy during a Wednesday meeting of the Routt County Republicans. The meeting was attended by Warner, and the two shook hands.

"I extended my hand to him, he shook it and wished me luck," Murphy said.

Murphy said he announced his candidacy for the four-year sheriff's seat to bring an end to the ongoing speculation about his interest in the position.

"I was just tired of keeping people in the dark about my intentions. My whole heart is into this, and I am really excited about it," he said.

Murphy worked for the Routt County Sheriff's Office several years ago, before he became a Steamboat Springs police officer. Murphy has been in law enforcement for 27 years and said he is eager to begin presenting his platform.

Murphy said he signed an agreement allowing him to take a leave of absence from the police department while he campaigns for the sheriff position.

However, Murphy said, the city won't enforce the agreement and will allow him to continue working as long as his candidacy does not interfere with his job. Murphy also said he signed an agreement with the city to not talk about his candidacy while on duty.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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