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Cass County deputy who ran against sheriff to lose job

Sheriff Jesse Jahner said Deputy Mathew King’s last day is Dec. 31. King said he is considering a second bid for election to the office.

Mat King.png
Mat King.
Submitted photo
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FARGO — A Cass County sheriff’s deputy who challenged his boss in this year’s election will lose his job.

Sheriff Jesse Jahner announced Thursday, Nov. 17, that Deputy Mathew King’s last day will be Dec. 31.

King lost to Jahner in the Nov. 8 general election, only garnering about 20% of the vote while Jahner won with 80%. Jahner will begin his second term as sheriff in January.

King said he is considering another run against Jahner in the future.

"With the recent decision to not reappoint me come the first of the year, I want to thank the citizens of Cass County for your support throughout the entirety of my career and this campaign," King said in a statement issued Friday. "I chose to run for office to make a difference. As we all move forward I would like to wish the men and women of Cass County the very best."

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Jahner said he has high expectations for his deputies, but he believes King doesn’t support the sheriff’s “mission, vision and values.”

“The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is fortunate to have some of the best men and women serving in all capacities of law enforcement in this region," Jahner said in a statement. "We will continue moving forward as an organization, serving the citizens of Cass County professionally, all the while providing a high level of public safety."

King told The Forum last week that the results of the election "are what they are."

He said he would like to keep his job and return to patrols, but that depends on what Jahner decides. The deputy was moved this spring to courthouse security duty.

Jahner and King did not return messages left by The Forum on Thursday.

During a WDAY radio debate before the election, King said he would "probably start looking at leaving" when asked if he thought he would have a job if he lost the election. "I don't think I would end up working here anymore," King said.

At the debate, Jahner said he would not continue to work at the sheriff's office if King was elected.

During his campaign, King was critical of how Jahner handled the office, including Jahner's discipline of an officer who sent a nude photo using a department-issued phone.

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Jahner gave Lt. Tommy Ray a written reprimand after it was discovered Ray sent a nude photo of himself to a coworker in September 2021. Ray told internal investigators that he meant to send the photo to his wife.

The photo investigation was leaked to local media about a month before the election.

King denied having any part in the leak.

A volunteer deputy, Ben Longlet, told The Forum he was responsible for the leak . Longlet was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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