Decision 2014 kicked off Thursday as potential candidates from Missoula made their campaigns official by filing with the Missoula County Elections Office.
In a race that’s expected to be in the spotlight, Detective Sergeant T.J. McDermott, with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, filed to run for Missoula County Sheriff.
Current Sheriff Carl Ibsen confirmed Thursday that he does not intend to run for re-election, and on the first day of filing, the race was uncontested.
McDermott is an 18-year law enforcement veteran and cites a list of accomplishments, including membership with the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, selection as the agency's Officer of the Year, and selection as a national Top Cop.
McDermott says communication – with the community, with other agencies, and within the department – will be a priority if he’s elected sheriff.
"The sheriff's position is truly one where you can lead from the top, and you can hopefully impart your values of treating people right with dignity and respect onto the people who work for you," said McDermott. "It's important for the personnel at the sheriff's office, at the detention center, and the civilian employees to know that their concerns will be heard, that they'll be treated fairly, and that everyone will have an equal and fair opportunity for career advancement and additional development opportunities."
McDermott also carries the endorsements of Missoula Mayor John Engen and Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss.
“TJ’s commitment to the citizens of Missoula County is indisputable,” said Curtiss in a press release. “I have been deeply impressed with the work TJ has done over the years protecting the most vulnerable in our community — our children, and other victims of crimes. He will make a truly great sheriff and I endorse him wholeheartedly.”
McDermott's campaign has already been in the news. His plan to appoint Detective Jason Johnson as undersheriff was revealed in August after Johnson filed a grievance against Sheriff Carl Ibsen for allegedly discriminating against him because of Johnson's political beliefs.
The matter is still ongoing, and both McDermott and Ibsen declined to comment.
Six other people filed for election Thursday in Missoula County. Judge Karen Orzech, County Commissioner Michele Landquist, County Auditor Barbara Berens, and Clerk and Recorder Vickie Zeier are running for reelection. Newcomer Matthew Lowy is running for District 2 Justice of the Peace, and Jason Marks is running to be the new County Attorney.
March 10 is the deadline to file with the elections office.