Before candidates have even filed for the election, the race for Benewah County Sheriff already has confirmed contenders.

At least two candidates – Undersheriff Tony Eells and businessman James “Jay” Cunningham, both of St. Maries – have signaled their intention to run for the sheriff’s seat. While the list of candidates is not final, both men have confirmed that they will file paperwork next month to seek office during the November election.

Sheriff Dave Resser will not be running in the next election. The 77-year-old veteran of law enforcement said that after two terms in office, it is time to allow new blood to lead the Benewah County Sheriff’s office.

“I hope that I’ve done a good enough job for the citizens of the county,” he said. “It’s been entertaining and fun at times; I like and enjoy the people, but it’s just time to move on. I know I will miss it.”

Sheriff Resser’s term ends this December, though he said he plans to remain as a reserve officer and continue to help law enforcement while spending time with family.

While the election is some time off, and filing will not begin until early March, two candidates have been confirmed as running.

Undersheriff Eells has been a deputy of the Benewah County Sheriff’s Department for 16 years, prior to which he served as a reserve officer with the St. Maries Police Department. He was promoted to undersheriff by Sheriff Resser in 2014. He will file to run as a Republican.

The second confirmed contender in the race will be James Cunningham of St. Maries. Mr. Cunningham has owned and operated Jay’s Towing since 2006. He has no law enforcement experience. He also said that he will run as a Republican.

As filings are not yet complete, Sheriff Resser declined to endorse a candidate at this time.

Filing for candidates will be March 2 through March 5, when counties will publish a completed list. Election Day will be Nov. 3.

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