UPDATED: Coates, Kidwell to meet in At-Large runoff
Johnny Jack Kidwell
TAHLEQUAH – Former Tribal Councilor Julia Coates and longtime serviceman Johnny Jack Kidwell are headed to a runoff election after taking the top two spots in the At-Large Tribal Council race.
Coates, of Los Angeles, and Kidwell, of Broken Arrow, faced two other opponents in the June 1 election. Coates received 994 votes, or 44.75 percent, while Kidwell received 679 or, 30.57 percent, according to the unofficial results, including challenged ballots.
Coates was born in Pryor. She served as an At-Large tribal councilor for two terms.
“As the At-Large representative on the Tribal Council from 2007 to 2015, I have been involved in achieving significant gains for the at-large citizens,” she said in a Cherokee Phoenix questionnaire. “I am driven by the desire to help those outside the Cherokee jurisdiction take their place in their Nation.”
Kidwell was born in Claremore and raised in Spavinaw. He spent 20-plus years in the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I decided to run for Tribal Council because I feel a deep calling to serve my Cherokee family,” he said in the Cherokee Phoenix questionnaire. “I have always called the Cherokee Nation my home.”
The other two candidates were Steve Adair, who received 371 votes, and Pamela Fox, who received 143 votes.
Current At-Large Tribal Councilor Wanda Hatfield, who got 34 votes, was a fifth candidate in the race before she was disqualified on April 18 by the Election Commission for violating Cherokee statute by “providing anything of value to voter(s) for the direct purpose of influencing voter behavior in an election.”
She was accused of mailing community assistance checks in Cherokee Nation envelopes, each worth $500, to the Mount Hood Cherokees of Salem, Oregon, and the San Diego Cherokee Community, and included campaign literature, business cards and handwritten notes asking for their support in the election.
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.