The Ramsey County Sheriff’s race hasn’t yet erupted into the Brawl in St. Paul that we saw four years ago, when former Police Chief Bill Finney challenged incumbent Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
But it’s still early.
This year, St. Paul Police Commander Matt Bostrom is taking on Fletcher. And even though it’s technically a nonpartisan race, Bostrom had been endorsed by the DFL Party — and on Wednesday got a GOP nod, of sorts.
Because the Republican Party doesn’t make endorsements in nonpartisan races, some leading Republicans in the county formed a special committee — the Republicans for Matt Bostrom Political Action Committee. It’s headed by Bev Aplikowski, chairwoman of the Republican 4th Congressional District and a former Arden Hills mayor, reports the Pioneer Press.
Fletcher said he stays away from party endorsements:
“I’ve worked for 16 years to keep the sheriff’s office nonpartisan and nonpolitical,” Fletcher said in a statement Wednesday. “When you work to serve the people, instead of parties, you’re often attacked from both ends of the spectrum.”
Fletcher singled out Vadnais Heights City Council member Joe Murphy, treasurer of the Republicans for Matt Bostrom PAC, saying he believed the committee’s formation “stems from Mr. Murphy’s arrest by Ramsey County sheriff deputies for greeting his neighbor with a weapon and his desire to have a sheriff who will support him in his effort to succeed Tony Bennett as (county) commissioner.”
Murphy was arrested in 1998 in Shoreview, and the county attorney’s office later deemed there were insufficient grounds to charge Murphy with a crime. Murphy called it “a wrongful arrest.”
Murphy said neither of the things Fletcher cited are the reasons he’s supporting Bostrom. “That is typical of Bob Fletcher trying to change the topic,” Murphy said.
“What I want is an honest, trustworthy sheriff,” Murphy said. “My sole purpose for supporting Matt Bostrom is I think he’s a better candidate, and too many things have gone on in the sheriff’s office that shouldn’t go on in law enforcement. … I don’t think the sheriff’s best friend should be in federal prison for corruption. His best man at his wedding, he gave a badge and a gun and let him loose on the street.”
Mark Naylon and Timothy Rehak, Ramsey County sheriff’s employees, were convicted in federal court in 2008 for taking money in an FBI sting operation. Naylon, who served as best man at Fletcher’s second wedding, was the sheriff’s spokesman. Naylon was not a licensed peace officer, but trial testimony showed he spent most of his time engaged in police work.