UPDATED: Warner prevails in deputy chief race
TAHLEQUAH – Bryan Warner, one half of the Hoskin-Warner campaign, was elected Cherokee Nation deputy chief in the June 1 general election with 58.88 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Warner, who ran alongside principal chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr., won his race against Meredith Frailey with a vote count of 8,060-5,630, including challenged ballots, according to the Election Commission.
“I’m ready to serve with Chuck as chief,” Warner said. “We complement each other very well. It’s been a long race, but anything we do for the Cherokee Nation is always worth the effort. I look forward to the future of everyone coming together and working together.”
Warner, of Sallisaw, is serving his first term as the Dist. 6 tribal councilor.
“I have a lot of friends on the council, and I look forward to working with them,” Warner said. “In the end, it’s always ‘how can we improve,’ even when we’re successful.”
A former college science instructor, Warner is campus director at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. He said he plans to step away from that role and focus solely on his job as deputy chief.
“It’s a great day, but also sad in my heart because I’ll be leaving Carl Albert,” he said. “It’s not an immediate exodus. It’s going to be a slow process.”
Warner will replace S. Joe Crittenden, a former tribal councilor who is terming out after eight years as deputy chief.
“I appreciate the job he’s done, and what Chief (Bill John) Baker has done,” Warner said.
Warner’s opponent, Frailey, of Locust Grove, served on the Tribal Council from 2003-13. She is a Mayes County commissioner and Locust Grove city attorney.
“During this 2019 campaign, it has been so encouraging to meet many new people and visit with longtime friends that I haven’t seen in quite a while,” Frailey said in a statement. “I also have learned many needs of our people are not being met.”
During an April 16 debate sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix, Frailey said her goal was to “help our people become satisfied with their own personal achievement, foster happy, functional families, strong and supportive communities and a vibrant tribal government.”
Frailey’s running mate was Dist. 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, who was disqualified from the chief’s race by the Election Commission on May 17 for violating tribal election law. The Supreme Court upheld the EC decision on May 29.
A third deputy chief candidate, Linda Sacks, of Muskogee, withdrew from the race in February. She was running alongside chief candidate Dick Lay.
All results are unofficial until certified by the EC.
For all the June 1 races, recount requests must be received by June 5, and any recount must be completed by June 7. The deadline for appeals is June 10. Requests for absentee ballots in runoff races must be received by June 17. Absentee ballots will be mailed June 24-25. Walk-in or early absentee voting will be offered at the CNEC office on July 20 and 23-25. Runoff elections are July 27.