Four candidates for Sonoma County Sheriff will participate Thursday in the first forum before the June primary.

The 5:30 p.m. debate at Santa Rosa’s Veterans Hall, 1351 Maple Ave., is hosted by groups including the North Bay Labor Council, Sonoma County Latino Democrats and the North Bay Organizing Project.

The field in the first contested election for sheriff in 25 years has narrowed; San Francisco Deputy Jay Foxworthy announced on Facebook Wednesday he was ending his campaign because of a “major medical crisis” in his family.

Retired Sonoma County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Edmonds will not attend the forum. Last week, Edmonds said while not dropping out of the race, he lacks the “political and financial support to run a campaign.”

Sheriff Rob Giordano replaced Steve Freitas, who retired July 31 because of health issues. Giordano has said he has no plans to run for the office.

The candidates are sheriff’s Capt. Mark Essick, Windsor police chief and sheriff’s Lt. Carlos Basurto, Santa Rosa Councilman and retired Santa Rosa Police Lt. Ernesto Olivares, and retired Los Angeles Police Capt. John Mutz.

The event moderators will be Michael Allen, a former state assemblyman and Mary Watts, a community activist.

You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nrahaim.

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