Final Cherokee Nation candidates list confirmed

03/22/2019 12:30 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
2019 General Election
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation election officials adopted a general election candidates roster in March, minus two candidates who withdrew and another two who failed to meet eligibility requirements.

In total, the Election Commission certified 32 of 36 hopefuls who filed to run. Deputy chief candidate Linda Sacks and Dist. 1 Tribal Council candidate Randy Dirteater withdrew from their respective races in February.

The EC and Supreme Court deemed principal chief candidate Rhonda Brown-Fleming and Dist. 13 Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen ineligible to run.

Two CN citizens challenged Brown-Fleming’s eligibility.

“The candidate lives in California and does not meet the residency requirements of the election code,” EC attorney Harvey Chaffin said March 11.

A special qualification for the principal chief position includes living within the tribe’s jurisdictional boundaries for at least 270 days prior to the election.

Brown-Fleming filed a Supreme Court appeal, which was dismissed in a March 12 order.
A Supreme Court opinion issued March 14 affirmed the EC’s earlier decision to prevent Anglen from running in the general election based on term limits.

Anglen’s only election opponent, Joe Deere, filed the original eligibility challenge.

Anglen’s initial run on the council began in 2002 to fill a Dist. 8 vacancy. He was elected to the seat in 2003, serving a full term.

In 2007 when term limits under the current CN Constitution took effect, Anglen was elected again. However, the typical four-year term was extended to six years to stagger terms of half the council.

After losing his seat to redistricting in 2013, Anglen sat out two years, then ran for and secured the redistricted Dist. 13 seat in 2015.

CN law restricts councilors to two consecutive four-year terms. The CN Constitution states that, “All Council members having served two consecutive terms must sit out one term before seeking any seat on the Council.”

“To give meaning and effect to the requirements of the Constitution,” the Supreme Court order that deemed Anglen ineligible states,” Anglen cannot be elected to a third straight term on the Tribal Council without sitting out for one full, four-year term.”

General election candidates who will appear on the June 1 ballot are:

Principal Chief: Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Dick Lay and David Walkingstick,

Deputy Chief: Bryan Warner and Meredith Frailey,

Dist. 1: Ryan Sierra and Rex Jordan (incumbent),

Dist. 3: R.J. Robbins, Debra Proctor, Jim Cosby, Brandon Girty, Billy Flint, Larry Dean Pritchett and Wes Nofire,

Dist. 6: Ron Goff, Gary Trad Lattimore and Daryl Legg,

Dist. 8: Ralph F. Keen II, Jodie Fishinghawk and Shawn Crittenden (incumbent),

Dist. 12: Don Scott, Phyllis Lay, Dora L. Smith Patzkowski and Todd M. Branstetter,

Dist. 13: Joe Deere,

Dist. 14: Cara Cowan Watts and Keith Austin (incumbent), and

At-Large: Steve Adair, Johnny Jack Kidwell, Julia Coates, Wanda Hatfield (incumbent) and Pamela Fox.
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Senior Reporter
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