Runoff election decides final 3 council seats

BY CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE
Special Correspondent
07/23/2011 11:06 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
David Walkingstick, right, visits with Leroy Qualls, left, and Tribal Councilor Tina Glory-Jordan at his July 23 watch party in Tahlequah, Okla. Walkingstick won the Tribal Council’s Dist. 1, Seat 3 during the runoff election. CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to unofficial results, the three remaining Tribal Council seats for the 2011-15 term were filled July 23 in the tribe’s runoff election with two new faces joining the legislative body and an incumbent earning a second term.

According to the Election Commission’s website, David Walkingstick became the councilor for Seat 3 in Dist. 1 with 1,883 votes to challenger Mark Vance’s 822 votes.

Walkingstick, who held a watch party at the CN Osiyo Training Room, said he had a lot of people to thank for their support along the campaign trail.

“First of all, I want to thank God for all of this and all my supporters, and all the people that have helped me get to be where I’m at today,” he said. “It’s been a long journey. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices, but it’s worth it for the Cherokee. They’re deserving of that. I do believe in the Cherokee Nation and it’s time for the tribe to rise.”

Tribal Councilor Jodie Fishinghawk won Dist. 2, Seat 3 by beating fellow Councilor Harley Buzzard 1,787-988, according to unofficial results.

Fishinghawk said she appreciated the support people showed her.

“I’m very honored, humbled, and I look forward to doing the best job I can for Adair, Delaware, Ottawa counties in the Cherokee Nation,” she said.

Earlier in the year, the council approved a new representative map that dropped the number of districts from nine to five. On Aug. 14, each district will have three councilors. Currently, Dist. 1 has Bill John Baker and Tina Glory-Jordan respectively serving in Seats 1 and 2. Dist. 2 has S. Joe Crittenden and Curtis Snell respectively serving in Seats 1 and 2.

However, a special election will be needed to fill Crittenden’s seat because of his winning the deputy chief race against fellow Councilor Chris Soap during the runoff.

According to unofficial results, Crittenden got 6,460 votes to Soap’s 5,691 votes.

A special election may also be needed to fill Baker’s seat. Baker is challenging incumbent Chad Smith for the office of principal chief. Smith was certified the winner on June 27 after the general election, but Baker won a June 30 recount. Smith then appealed the election to the Supreme Court. After a hearing, the court threw out the election on July 21. As of press time, no date has been set for a new principal chief election.

If no winner has been decided in that race by Aug. 14, Crittenden would temporarily take the principal chief’s post that day until a principal chief is duly elected, according to the CN attorney general.

The new council speaker would move up to deputy chief.

In the race for Seat 2 in Dist. 4, Dick Lay edged out incumbent Bradley Cobb by 80 votes. Lay received 811 votes to Cobb’s 731.

“I am humbled and happy that our independent council campaign was so well-received,” Lay said. “I want to thank Brad Cobb for a good clean campaign. I would like to thank all those volunteers who worked so hard for our success. This is their win. I will serve our people, not myself.”

Currently, Meredith Frailey holds that district’s No.1 seat, while Chuck Hoskin Jr., holds Seat 3.

The Dist. 4, Seat 2 runoff between Councilor Bradley Cobb and challenger Dick Lay ended with Lay receiving 811 votes to Cobb’s 731.

According to CN election law, a runoff is needed when no single candidate gains a simple majority of more than 50 percent of the vote in a particular race. The runoff consists of the top two vote-getters in that race. All results are unofficial until certified by the Election Commission.

christina-goodvoice@cherokee.org • (918) 207-3825

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