TAHLEQUAH – In the largest race this election cycle, At-Large candidates Johnny Jack Kidwell and Kyle Haskins secured enough votes to move forward in a July runoff.
In the eight-candidate field, Kidwell, of Tulsa, received 989 of the total 2,461 votes (40.18%) to Haskins’ 670 (27.22%), according to figures released by the Election Commission on election night, June 5.
“With eight candidates in the race, we had a really good election for At-Large,” Kidwell said. “I think all the candidates were strong and we all ran really good races and let the people decide, and the people will have to choose one more time.”
The runoff election is scheduled for July 24.
“We’ve got to go back through it again and we need people to return those ballots and make sure everybody’s participating,” Kidwell said. “The reason why we run for office is we want to serve the Cherokee people and that’s exactly what I want to do. I think we ran a great campaign, a campaign of mutual respect and admiration.”
Haskins, also of Tulsa, was unavailable for comment on election night. In a previous Cherokee Phoenix candidate questionnaire, Haskins said he ran “to help guide the Tribal Council and the Cherokee people through the incredibly difficult legal matters facing our people.”
“I have been practicing law since 1988 and I have been involved in many complex cases involving Tribal issues, including the historic Murphy/McGirt cases and the gaming compact litigation against Oklahoma’s governor,” he said. “While it has been a great honor serving a number of Oklahoma’s other tribal nations now is the right time in my life for me to concentrate solely upon the needs of our people. I am confident that I can make a difference in the lives of at-large citizens.”
The election night vote tallies were unofficial. The EC is expected to certify the vote count from June 5 election on June 7.
According to the EC, the other At-Large candidates were Marilyn Vann with 543 votes (22.06%); Mary-Charlotte Grayson with 137 votes (5.56%); Matthew Benjamin Scraper with 74 votes (3%); Robin Mayes with 37 votes (1.5%); Shawna Johnson with six votes (0.24%); and Wallace Ryan Craig with five votes (0.2%).
The At-Large incumbent, Mary Baker Shaw, announced Jan. 29 that she would not run for re-election.