COOPERSTOWN — In an announcement that took many Otsego County government insiders by surprise, Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, said Thursday afternoon he will not re-election to the seat he has held for nearly six years.
“It’s simply time for me to do some other things in my life at this point,” said Murphy, 63, a retired speech pathologist for the Board of Cooperative Education Services and a volunteer coach for Oneonta Little League for 27 years.
In 12 years in politics, he never lost an election, winning back-to-back elections to the Oneonta Town Board before three successive victories for the county board seat he will keep until year’s end.
Last year, Murphy rose to vice chairman of the county Board of Representatives, and was placed in charge of a key committee — administration, which oversees the shaping of the county budget — by Chairwoman Kathleen Clark, R-Otego.
Political insiders have said that had Murphy chosen to run as an incumbent, District 4, which he represents, would not have been viewed as a highly competitive one, given his history of success at the ballot box. In his last contest two years ago, Murphy won a lopsided contest against Oneonta Town Board Member Scott Gravelin, taking nearly 70 percent of the votes.
His announcement immediately made District 4 a target for the Republicans.
“We will have a candidate,” declared Otsego County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross.
Murphy said a Democrat has already stepped forward, and will formally enter the race next week. He declined to name that person.
“We have somebody who is going to be a new and exciting candidate who will run in my place,” Murphy said. “I can leave with some level of confidence that there will be a qualified and competent person stepping up to run for the office, and I’m happy about that.”