- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - The sheriff of southern Oregon’s Jackson County said Thursday he wants to retire at the end of his term, which is the end of this year.

Sheriff Mike Winters told KDRV-TV he endorses his November ballot challenger, Ashland Police Department Deputy Chief Corey Falls.

Winters has been elected as sheriff three times.

“I’m confident that the transition to my successor will be straightforward because of the systems that are currently in place,” Winters said in a statement provided to the TV station. “Therefore I fully endorse and support our new sheriff, Corey Falls, and will be at his disposal for any guidance if necessary.”

The sheriff said his retirement will go into effect at the end of the year.

Falls told KDRV he was surprised by the news but it doesn’t really affect his campaign.

A sheriff’s spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond Thursday evening to an Associated Press request for a copy of the statement and any elaboration on the timing.

Winters’ announcement came 15 days before general election ballots are sent to the post office, the Medford Mail Tribune reported. The sheriff remains on the ballot in a runoff election against Falls.

Falls said he intends to continue his campaign since Winters’ name will remain on the ballot as well as in the voters’ pamphlet.

“It’s an odd situation,” the challenger told the newspaper. “There’s still a sheriff’s race.”

County Clerk Chris Walker said she was unaware of Winters’ announcement. Winters missed the window that state law allows for nominated candidates to be removed from the ballot, Walker told the Mail Tribune.

Winters is a former Oregon State Police trooper.

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