The retired spokesman for the King County Sheriff's Office, John Urquhart, is considering a run for sheriff, now that Sheriff Sue Rahr has announced her departure at the end of March.

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John Urquhart didn’t leave his job as spokesman of the King County Sheriff’s Office last year to get into politics.

He meant to retire, he said. Really.

But numerous entreaties from former colleagues at the Sheriff’s Office and people outside the department — including some county politicians — have caused him to rethink his plans.

“I didn’t leave the office to run for sheriff,” Urquhart, 64, said on Friday. “But people I like and respect, at all ranks, have called me and asked me to run. There’s some concern, and I think I owe it to them to at least consider it.”

He declined to speak on the record about concerns relayed to him.

A decision will be a few months in the making, he said. The deadline to file is in mid-May for the election this fall.

Urquhart, who was known for his honesty and ruthless wit, left the Sheriff’s Office in September after 23 years. He’d spent nearly half his career as the department’s media-relations officer.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Sue Rahr, 55, announced she would be resigning her position March 31 to become director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Rahr appointed Chief Deputy Steve Strachan as interim sheriff. The County Council will either confirm the former chief of the Kent Police Department as interim sheriff or name someone else, she said. Whoever is named will have to stand for election to remain in the post past the beginning of 2013, when Rahr’s term ends.

Rahr was elected King County sheriff in 2005 after being appointed earlier that year by departing Sheriff Dave Reichert, who had been elected to Congress.

When asked by KING-TV about Urquhart’s possible run, Rahr said she would continue to back Strachan. She said earlier this week that she had complete confidence in Strachan and “would not and could not leave this post without that confidence.”

In a news release about her resignation, she said she had met with each County Council member and expressed her support for Strachan.

She said “he has been the chief deputy since January of 2011 and is well versed” in issues facing the Sheriff’s Office.

Urquhart said he had been seated next to KING-TV’s Lori Matsukawa at a benefit on Friday when they began talking about the Sheriff’s Office.

He said he leaned over and whispered: “I was thinking about running myself” and Matsukawa “began tweeting about it five minutes later.”

“It’s not that big of a deal,” he said.

Information from The Times archives is included in this report.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or