Friends and fans mourn the death of “Irish Sean”

Republicans Allen Fuller and Sean Murphy on election night in 2004, when Bob Beauprez coasted to re-election in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in no time at all.  Beauprez’s first race was so close it took three weeks to declare a winner. (Facebook photo)

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.”

Team Beauprez on election night 2004: campaign consultant Shari Williams, campaign manager Jack Stansbery, chief of staff Sean Murphy, Claudia Beauprez, Congressman Bob Beauprez and campaign spokesman Jordan Stoick. (Beauprez photo)

“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.


2 thoughts on “Friends and fans mourn the death of “Irish Sean”

  1. I am really saddened and stunned to read the passing of Sean. I have not seen or spoken to Sean since high school. I cannot ever remember a time where he did not have a smile on his face. We all joked that some day he would be governor. I send my sincere condolences to his family. What a loss to us all.

  2. Seems like yesterday when we would get our morning dose of Sean doing his head boy duties with announcements over the intercom. I remember how he felt like he had let everyone down our senior year dealing with some personal issues. I told him not to fret. He was so hard on himself. Always wanting to do his best, be his best, and make everyone happy. I never doubted you would do just that. If only you could have made it to the presidential race. You would have made one hell of a president!
    My sincere sympathy goes to his wife and family. RIP Sean…God bless you!

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