August 24th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Multnomah County, Cops and Courts

First Contender to Replace Sheriff Bob Skipper: Bruce McCain


News that Multnomah County Sheriff Bob Skipper may be out of office in November has prompted speculation about who will replace him. Well, we have our first official candidate: Bruce McCain.

McCain, a retired captain with the sheriff's office, told WW today he'll run in a special election to replace Skipper if Skipper fails to meet a state requirement to become certified as a police officer by Nov. 5.

McCain said he's running on his experience as a corrections deputy, and that an op-ed in this morning's Oregonian was his "opening salvo."

"I'm ready to take on any police officer who wants to run for sheriff," says McCain, who served as former Sheriff Bernie Giusto's personal lawyer and top political aide.

It appears impossible for Skipper to complete the required 16-week police academy to become certified by the Nov. 5 deadline. If the office is then vacated, as required by state law, McCain believes a special election to replace him likely would be held March 9, 2010 — the state's next scheduled regular election date.

Skipper was elected to complete the rest of Giusto's term through 2010. And McCain already has a website supporting his previously planned bid to run for sheriff in the May 2010 primary.

"My goal obviously would be to win the special election in March and win the primary (in May)," McCain says.

Like Skipper, McCain is not currently certified as a police officer. If he wins election, he says he would have no trouble — unlike Skipper — becoming certified within one year of taking office to meet the state requirement.

"I don't worry about taking open- or closed-book tests," says McCain, referring to Skipper twice failing an open-book test that would have provided him a short-cut to certification.

As indicated in his op-ed today, McCain hopes to put a measure before Multnonah County voters that would require future sheriffs be certified as corrections officers. That requirement would make McCain qualified to hold the office, but it would not include many current and retired police officers who may be tempted to run.

McCain says few potential candidates would care to go back to the academy and become qualified in corrections.

"Most police officers would rather puke in their hats," McCain says.

Corrections Sgt. Muhammad Ra'oof told WW this morning he's also considering a run after he was defeated by Skipper in November.

"I will basically have to look to see who else is running," Ra'oof says. "If there's not a person there who is really looking at the corrections side of the house, then I would step in."
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