Ballot order set for Cherokee Nation runoff races

Cherokee Nation Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ballew draws a name from a basket held by EC Administrator Marcus Fears on June 10 at the EC office in Tahlequah

TAHLEQUAH – Ballot order for the Cherokee Nation’s July 24 runoff races was set June 10 by the Election Commission.

The commission met five days after the general election to draw for candidate order on the ballot in four races that saw no candidate exceed the required 50% threshold to win. The two-candidate showdowns will take place in districts 2, 7, 10 and one At-Large seat.

In the Dist. 2 race, Candessa Teehee, of Tahlequah, will be listed first, followed by Bobby Slover, also of Tahlequah. Teehee with 219 votes and Slover with 200 received the most in June 5’s general election. Teehee took 32.21% while Slover secured 29.41%.

The Dist. 7 ballot in Adair County will list Joshua Sam first, followed by David Comingdeer. Sam, of Stilwell, received 497 votes (49.31%) in the general election. Comingdeer, of Spade Mountain, received 450 votes (44.64%). 

In the Dist. 10 runoff race is between Shaunda Handle-Davis, of Jay, and Melvina Shotpouch, of Eucha. Handle-Davis will be listed first on the ballot. In the general election, Handle-Davis received 302 votes (35.87%) while Shotpouch received 294 (34.92%).

For the open At-Large seat, there were eight candidates. The top two vote getters were Johnny Jack Kidwell, of Tulsa, with 1,012 (39.78%) and Kyle Haskins, also of Tulsa, with 688 (27.04%). On the ballot, Kidwell will be listed first, as determined by the June 10 EC drawing.

The At-Large incumbent, Mary Baker Shaw, announced on Jan. 29 that she would not run for re-election, “a tough decision because it’s hard to walk away from a job you love.”

In the other five June 5 races, four incumbents and a newcomer were elected. 

Dist. 4 Tribal Councilor Mike Dobbins, of Fort Gibson, prevailed with 505 of 583 votes (86.62%) to challenger Sarah Cowett’s 78 votes (13.38%), according to certified vote counts from the EC.

In Dist. 5, Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, of Vian, won his three-candidate race with 81.62% of the vote (586 of 718). He defeated RL Bell, of Braggs, who garnered 98 votes (13.65%), and Richard W. Tyler, of Vian, who had 34 votes (4.74%).

Dist. 9 Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh, of Jay, was successful in his bid for re-election against challengers Lawrence Panther and Joyce Nix McCarter, both of Kansas, Oklahoma. Shambaugh received 575 of 972 votes (59.16%), according to the EC. Panther and McCarter collected 249 (25.62%) and 148 (15.23%) votes respectively.

The current Dist. 11 councilor, Victoria Vazquez, of Vinita, also defended her seat by taking 486 votes (62.95%). Her challengers were Mike Purcell, of Big Cabin, with 236 votes (30.57%), Randy Junior White, of Vinita, with 49 votes (6.35%) and Mason Hudson, of Adair, with one vote (0.13%).

Dist. 15 voters elected a new councilor, Danny Callison, to replace Janees Taylor, who is terming out of office. Callison, of Pryor, garnered 484 votes (59.83%) against his lone challenger and former councilor,Meredith Frailey, of Locust Grove, who ended up with 325 votes (40.17%).

The total number of voters June 5 was 8,940 out of a possible 55,597 for a 16.08% turnout. On June 7, the EC certified the official vote count, but will wait until after the runoff election to officially certify race outcomes. The candidate appeal period for the June 5 election ends June 14.