Michael Untermeyer throws his hat into Philly sheriff’s race, pledges to only serve one term

Untermeyer will be running as a Democrat, and pledges to serve only one term if he’s elected.

Michael Untermeyer appears with a sign behind him that says ''Help wanted: Sheriff who will keep us safe''

Michael Untermeyer announced his candidacy to be Philadelphia's Sheriff during a press conference on Mar. 7, 2023 on South Broad Street. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

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Attorney Michael Untermeyer is running to be the next sheriff of Philadelphia, looking to unseat incumbent Sheriff Rochelle Bilal.

He announced his campaign Tuesday alongside residents impacted by the city’s gun violence crisis.

Untermeyer said one of his top priorities would be reducing the number of active bench warrants, claiming Philadelphia is facing a backlog of more than 33,000.

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“As sheriff, I will devote and commit all the resources necessary to build up the warrant unit and to reduce that number of 33,000 to a more livable, reasonable number,” Untermeyer said.

Untermeyer speaks into a microphone.
Untermeyer called Bilal’s first term “disastrous,” citing multiple scandals including the more than 200 guns missing from the Sheriff’s Department. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Untermeyer, a Democrat, also pledged to only serve one term, if elected.

“I don’t need any job at this stage of my life,” Untermeyer said. “I’m doing this, I’m committing right now, one four-year term. That’s it. I want to go in. I really want to show the world that you can take one agency and make it really work, operate, and really serve the citizens of the city.”

Untermeyer called Bilal’s first term as sheriff “disastrous,” citing multiple scandals including the more than 200 guns reportedly missing from the department and the sheriff’s deputy charged with selling two firearms used in the deadly shooting near Roxborough High School.

“I want to bring sunshine into this office, really clean every nook and cranny, every department,” Untermeyer said. “The office should have a purpose. The purpose should be transparency, accountability, efficiency. No more fraud, waste, and misspending opportunities.”

Victims of gun violence in Philadelphia hold signs supporting Untermeyer's campaign for Philadelphia sheriff.
Victims of Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis voiced their support for Untermeyer’s campaign on Mar. 7, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

This isn’t the first time Untermeyer has run for public office. In 2007, he ran for sheriff as a Democrat. He then ran for office twice as a Republican: once in 2009 when he ran for district attorney, and again in 2011 when he ran for City Council. In 2017, Untermeyer ran to become Philadelphia’s district attorney, but ultimately lost to Larry Krasner.

Untermeyer said he’s triggering the millionaire’s amendment for his campaign, and has already contributed $250,000 of his own money in the race. He currently serves as an attorney in private practice.

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The primary election will be held Tuesday, May 16.

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