Ector County Sheriff Not Running For Re-election

Ector County Sheriff Not Running For Re-election

ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson unexpectedly withdrew his bid for re-election Monday night, sparking questions, rumors and concern for the future of the Sheriff's Office.

"By the way, I'm not dying," he told NewsWest 9 with a laugh. "I guess a lot of people are surprised [I've decided to withdraw]."

The fourth-term sheriff said it was one of the "toughest" decisions he's made during his 38 years with the department. He had filed paperwork last week to run for a fifth term.

"I really went back and forth on it for a long time," Donaldson said. "There are just some things I'd like to do... in retirement... This is the right thing for me and for Ector County."

Sheriff's deputies told NewsWest 9 colleagues were "shocked" by his last-minute change of heart.

"I don't want to feel like I'm letting them down," Donaldson said. "That's the tough part... But I feel like we've accomplished a lot here, so I can go out feeling good about how I left this office."

Career highlights include a push to purchase much-needed equipment for the Sheriff's Office and improvements at the Ector County Detention Center.

The jail had been out of compliance with state standards for about a year when Donaldson was first elected into office. Within a month, he said, he had made the necessary changes to bring the facility back into compliance.

"We still have a lot to do... and not running an election will mean [being able to focus on] our work here," Donaldson told NewsWest 9.

The sheriff endorsed his No. 3 Inspector, Michael Wayne Griffis, to run in his place on the Republican ticket.

Joe Commander, chief investigator for the Ector County District Attorney's Office, also filed to run for the position.

The deadline for voter registration is February 1, 2016.