Missoula Sheriff Candidate T.J. McDermott Says Josh Clark’s Write-in Campaign is “Disappointing” and “An Insult to Voters”
A rough-and-tumble three-way democratic primary battle for Missoula County Sheriff ended months ago with candidate T.J. McDermott taking over 50 percent of the vote. Now, competitor Josh Clark is running a write-in campaign unaffiliated with either political party.
"It's actually disappointing," said McDermott. "You know, Josh Clark hasn't been able to move on, and I see it as an insult to the voters who, during the primary, overwhelmingly, by almost a two-to-one margin, chose me to be the next Sheriff."
McDermott says that Sheriff Carl Ibsen and current Undersheriff Clark have not been transitioning McDermott into the Sheriff's position. Although, McDermott says the county commissioners have invited him to budget meetings and that he has met with city and county officials, he says he's done it with resistance from the Sheriff's department current leadership.
"Truly what needs to happen is Sheriff Ibsen and Josh Clark need to acknowledge the will of the voters, the primary election, and just start some type of transition to do best by those at the office and best by those in the community."
One of the main arguments in Clark's write-in campaign for Sheriff, is that, if elected, he "won't be beholden to any government official or corporation." McDermott says he's not beholden to these entities either and has gathered support not only from Missoula Mayor John Engen and Commissioner Jean Curtiss (who served as McDermot's campaign treasurer), but also from prominent Republicans and independents in Missoula.
"Right now, the sheriff's office is being monitored by the Human Rights Bureau for the next year," said McDermott. "There is mandatory training that Sheriff Ibsen and his staff had to attend on how to not discriminate against employees. When is the last time the sheriff's office had monitoring by another state agency?... It's just ludicrous that Clark would assert these things."
In November, only McDermott's name will be on Missoula ballots, meaning that Clark will have a much more difficult path to victory.