In today's Murmurs column, we reported Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk is rumored to be considering whether to step down before his four-year term expires in 2012.
Insiders mentioned two candidates actively seeking to replace Schrunk, if and when he retires.
Rod Underhill did not immediately return a phone call for comment. As a chief deputy in Schrunk's office, Underhill has long been viewed as the heir apparent Schrunk has been grooming for the DA's job. Schrunk himself is 68 years old and has been DA since 1981.
Sean Riddell couldn't be more vocal on the question of his interest in the job. Riddell left Schrunk's office in 2009 to run Oregon Attorney General John Kroger's criminal division. And Riddell says he'd love to return to Multnomah County as district attorney.
"I very much want that job, and I would consider it an honor to serve the people of Multnomah County," Riddell says. "I'm interested in talking to anyone about the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office and what they want out of the Multnomah County District Attorney."
Schrunk tells WW he hasn't made a decision on when he'll retire. If he steps down midterm, state law calls for Gov. John Kitzhaber to appoint his replacement. One the other hand, if Schrunk finishes his four-year term but decides not to run again, it would be an open race to replace him.
Either way, Riddell says he hopes to be given a chance.
"Regardless of what Mr. Schrunk's plans are," Riddell says, "whether it's an appointment or a campaign, I hope it's an open debate between candidates about their strengths and weaknesses."