Cornsilk drops out of principal chief race
By JAMI CUSTER
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – John Cornsilk has announced that he is dropping out of this year’s race for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, citing his health, finances and a concern of a split vote.
Cornsilk told the Cherokee Phoenix on Feb. 14 that several factors affected his decision.
“I wasn’t getting any donations for one thing, and I got concerned about that because it’s gonna take a lot of money to run. And second thing is my health,” he said. “It’s not as stable as I’d like it to be. I got to thinking if people did start sending me money and it turned out my health wasn’t good enough to do the job, I’d be ripping them off.”
Cornsilk also said he was worried about two individuals running against current principal chief, Chad Smith, and taking votes away from one another. Tribal Councilor Bill John Baker is the other candidate who has announced his intention to run for the seat.
“And I got to thinking about what two guys against Chad was going to do. That was my biggest reason. We are going to split the vote and Chad is going to win. So I decided to step back and let Bill John go at it,” he said.
The period for filing for a CN elected office is March 7-10, according to the tribe’s Election Commission.
Cornsilk said he has no current political plans, but has considered the idea of running for a Tribal Council seat. However, he said he is focusing on supporting Baker.
“After talking with Bill John Baker, I feel he will uphold these needed principles and steer our people back onto a steady course,” Cornsilk said in his statement on his website. “He has listened to what I have to say, and we have opened up a dialog that will continue through the election and into his time as our next leader.”
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