Retired Saratoga County sheriff’s investigator Michael Zurlo said today he plans to run to replace Sheriff James D. Bowen, who will retire in December.
Zurlo resigned as Stillwater town justice effective 5 p.m. Thursday. He is the first person to publicly confirm interest in the position, though other candidates are expected to follow.
“My intention is to run for sheriff and seek the Republican nomination,” Zurlo said Thursday evening. “I’ll be contacting Republican leaders and making a formal announcement in a few days.”
Zurlo, 59, has 36 years’ experience in law enforcement, including 32 years with the Sheriff’s Department, where he served as a road patrol deputy, sergeant, investigator, lieutenant and senior investigator. He retired in 2010 and was elected a Stillwater town justice in November 2011.
“I devoted most of my life to the department. You couldn’t ask for a better boss than Sheriff Bowen, and I want to continue what he’s done,” Zurlo said.
Bowen, the state’s longest-serving sheriff, announced Wednesday he won’t run for re-election this fall, ending a 41-year run as sheriff and a 48-year career with the Sheriff’s Department. His term ends Dec. 31.
Zurlo is one of seven people county Republican Chairman John Herrick said he’s heard from since the announcement but the first to declare his interest publicly. The Republican Party holds a significant countywide voter enrollment advantage and has long controlled all countywide elected offices.
“He called me after 5 p.m. and told me he has resigned and will be gauging his support,” Herrick said.
Zurlo resigned as town justice because he couldn’t pursue another political office will still serving as a judge. Kevin Tollisen made a similar move last week, when he resigned as a Halfmoon town justice to make what turned out to be a successful effort to get the town Republican Committee’s backing to run for supervisor.
Stillwater town Supervisor Ed Kinowski said he’ll support Zurlo, who was also a Mechanicville police officer for four years before joining the Sheriff’s Department.
“I think he’d make a super candidate. He’s got a lot of experience and his integrity is beyond reproach,” Kinowski said.
Herrick said he’s planning to explain to all prospective candidates who contact him that they will need to seek the support of town and city Republican committees across the county, in anticipation of a decision being made by the county Republican Committee in the last week of May.
Jason Longton, a former Corinth police officer who ran against Bowen as an independent in 2009, said he is also considering running again.
The sheriff serves a four-year term and draws a $113,305 annual salary.