UPDATE: Funeral services have been set for Sean Murphy, a Colorado native who became a political dynamo. Information at the end of this blog.
Sean Murphy, who ran Republican Bob Beauprez’s first campaign for Congress and then became his chief of staff, has unexpectedly died of natural causes.
The death was announced today by Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who said of Murphy that his chief of staff was “a skilled Colorado operative before he became a congressional staffer.”
Tributes poured in for the 51-year-old Colorado native on his Facebook page.
“Murph made us all better. And happier,” Jordan Stoick wrote.
I will always have a special place in my heart for Murphy. I wrote about him and three other Colorado Republican operatives also named Sean for a blurb that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News on March 17, 2003:
What better day than St. Patrick’s to recognize four lads in Colorado Republican politics better known as the Four Seans or by their individual nicknames:
Irish Sean: Sean Murphy, former executive director of the state GOP and chief of staff for Congressman Bob Beauprez.
Handsome Sean: Sean Walsh, who ran Congressman Bob Schaffer’s 1998 campaign and now is a lobbyist.
Strategic Sean: Sean Tonner, who managed Owens’ 2002 re-election campaign and now runs a GOP consulting firm.
Con Seanway: Sean Conway, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard.
When the item appeared, Murphy joked, “At least you didn’t call me Fat Sean.”
Man, could he make you laugh. I had covered Beauprez’s first campaign, in 2002, and still remember some of Murphy’s lines. “Of course, Bob went to the early Mass,” Murphy once said. “He was a dairy farmer. He doesn’t sleep in. Now me … “
Murphy reportedly died in his sleep last during the night at his home in Alexandria, Va. He is survived by his wife, Johannah, whom he met when they worked on Republican Bob Schaffer’s first congresssional campaign, and their three children, Jack, Peter and Charlie. Murphy grew up in Cañon City and tributes from his classmates mentioned his love of politics at an early age.
Beauprez is devastated at Murphy’s death, calling him “my rock in politics.”
“Words fail me to adequately express how much I loved and admired Sean. His loyalty and commitment to me was unmatched and without limits. I never thought of Sean as an employee. He was my best friend. I know Congressman Cole had the same admiration for Sean,” Beauprez wrote in part on his own Facebook page.
“One of Sean’s greatest abilities was to mentor the dozens of gifted, enthusiastic young patriots that migrate through a congressional staff offices. Sean’s Alumni Club is full of talented people that he groomed and now run their own businesses and hold esteemed positions of responsibility in Washington and across the nation. Four from my staff alone went on to be chief-of-staff for other members of Congress.”
Schaffer also paid tribute.
“R.I.P. Sean Murphy, one of the finest, funnest, favorite people I’ve encountered. Sometimes politics is off-putting and demeaning, and then there are some truly fantastic people you meet along the way,” Schaffer wrote. “He touched a lot of people in politics, but his legacy is clearly Johannah and their three outstanding boys.”
Visitation/prayer service: Visitation from 6-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, prayer service at 7 p.m., at St. Louis Catholic Church, 2907 Popkins Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306.
Funeral Mass: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at St. Louis Church, with a reception to follow in the gym.