Democratic candidate Matt Carr won the election for Teton County sheriff by more than 3,000 votes.
Carr, who serves as undersheriff, said he was pleasantly surprised by the results.
“My big takeaway from campaigning was getting to learn just how engaged this community is and how much they care,” Carr said Tuesday night. “It’s really great to be a part of that and to be a part of positive change.”
Official results showed Carr with 6,603 votes, Republican candidate Michelle Weber with 3,452 and independent candidate Slade Ross with 1,500.
“A lot of Democrats stepped up,” said Weber, a sergeant at the Jackson Police Department. “That’s clear. I will continue to do great things for the community and law enforcement in the county.”
Carr focused his campaign on fair, friendly and honest leadership, promising voters to lead the Teton County Sheriff’s Office in a solutions-focused and transparent manner.
“What I’m really looking forward to is engaging with our community partners, whether that’s Teton County School District, St. John’s Medical Center, Teton Youth and Family Services, CSN or One22,” Carr said during an election results party at Hole Bowl on Tuesday night. “It’s really about a positive movement for the sheriff’s office for the overall success of our community.”
Carr said that as sheriff he hopes to set the tone for how law enforcement interacts with the community.
Incumbent Sheriff Jim Whalen crossed party lines in September to endorse Carr.
“I am a registered Republican,” Whalen previously said, “but to me party affiliation does not matter when it comes to who the next sheriff should be. What matters is who is going to be the best sheriff of Teton County, and without equivocation I believe that person is Matt Carr.”
A Virginia native, Carr has lived in Teton County for 25 years. His first job in Jackson was as a dishwasher at The Bunnery. His first job in emergency services was as an EMT. He started with the sheriff’s office in 1999.
Carr is on ski patrol and Teton County Search and Rescue, is the president of CrimeStoppers and serves on St. John’s Medical Center’s Behavioral Services Committee and the Community Safety Network’s board of directors.
Carr wants to fill vacant leadership positions at the sheriff’s office as soon as possible.
“I look forward to our qualified people assuming roles in leadership that they are eager to move forward with once the election is over, and it would be my pleasure to see those promotions occur in the immediate future,” he said.
Another immediate goal is to help more emergency service personnel live in Teton County.
“The biggest issue facing the Teton County Sheriff’s Office is that the wonderful people who work and serve in our community are unable to afford to live here,” Carr said.
Carr hopes to make the department more representative of the Jackson Hole community.
“Mirroring our community is critical to all organizations in Teton County including the sheriff’s office,” he said. “We need to do all we can to attract qualified candidates that are representative of our community.
“Having Latino deputies and office staff would be of great benefit to our community. It would help build trust and relationships with a critical part of our community.”
Carr will take office in January. He said he looks forward to a smooth transition. Whalen plans to retire in Arizona.