Nofire, Patzkowski win District 3, District 12 posts, respectively
Dora Smith Patzkowski
TAHLEQUAH - Runoff elections held July 27 resulted in the unofficial filling of two council seat vacancies on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council.
Wes Nofire is unofficial winner of the Dist. 3 seat over Debra Proctor, while Dora L. Smith Patzkowski won the Dist. 12 post over Phyllis Lay.
Nofire received 540 ballots to Proctor’s 307, giving Nofire 63.75 percent of the vote.
Patzkowski won 320 votes to Lay’s 186, giving Patzkowski 63.24 percent of the ballots.
“My heart is full tonight,” Nofire said. “This whole race, we’ve heard so much from the people about what they would like to see. It is really humbling to know that I am going to be able to serve those people. There is nothing more that I would like to do with my life than to serve them. I spent the last decade, for the most part, representing the Cherokee people as a professional [boxer], but now my profession will be my involvement on the council.”
Nofire said he wanted to keep the lines of communication open with his constituents and to address the issues they deemed most pressing. He also thanked his support system.
“I appreciate everyone for their support, and thank Councilman [David] Walkingstick for coming out and bringing the attitude that we needed change in our district and the representation we need there. I thank my wife, who stood by me in this race. It’s a lot for a family to go through, and I thank all the Cherokee people for supporting me.”
A message requesting comment from Proctor, left late on election night, was not returned by deadline.
“My opponent worked hard and did a great job,” Nofire said. “I thank her for all the years of service she has provided to us.”
Proctor actually won two more votes than Nofire in the general election on June 1, while Patzkowski was the leading vote getter in the District 12 general balloting.
“I am grateful to the people of District 12 for their support, and I look forward to working with the Cherokee Nation administration and council,” Patkowski said. “I would also like to thank Phyllis Lay for running a civil campaign.”
A message left with Lay late on election night was not returned before deadline.
District 3 includes much of southern Cherokee County, including the communities of Woodall, Keys, Zeb, Pettit, Park Hill, Tenkiller, Welling and Dry Creek.
District 12 is the most northwestern district within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction. The district encompasses Washington County, southern Nowata County and the extreme northwest of Tulsa County, and includes the cities of Bartlesville, Nowata and Dewey.
The District 3 and District 12 seats were vacated by Walkingstick and Dick Lay, respectively, who both termed out of office. Patzkowski and Nofire and the other candidates who were elected in June will be sworn in on Aug. 14.
All election results are unofficial until certified by the Election Commission. The elections were to be certified on Monday, July 29. Candidates have until July 31 to file a request for a recount, and those would be scheduled on August 1-2, but requests for recounts are not anticipated due to the landslide margins in the runoffs.