TAHLEQUAH – In a tight runoff race with the difference falling within the margin of challenged ballots, Candessa Tehee, of Tahlequah, emerged as the unofficial winner in the race for the Dist. 2 seat on the Tribal Council by a count of 367-360.
The initial margin favored Tehee 366-355, which narrowed to the final tally after the 18 challenged ballots were assessed, following voting on July 24.
“I am really thankful to everyone who supported my campaign – my family friends and most of all the voters in Dist. 2,” Tehee said. “A victory like this one really makes me understand the power of every single vote. It was a narrow margin of victory. I look forward to working for all the citizens of Dist. 2 and working toward a strong and united future.”
Vote totals broken down by precinct, absentee and early walk-in ballots – not including the challenged ballots – were:
· Tahlequah Precinct – Slover 106, Tehee 75;
· Lowrey-Peggs Precinct – Slover 18, Tehee 3;
· Briggs Precinct – Slover 23, Tehee 13;
· Absentee – Tehee 134, Slover 121; and
· Early – Tehee 141, Slover 87.
Seven ballots each were challenged at the Tahlequah and Briggs polling places, and four were challenged at the Lower-Briggs Precinct.
All results are unofficial until certified by the Election Commission. The seven-vote margin could possibly draw a recount request. A call to Slover on the morning of July 25 went to voicemail.
Any request for a recount must be received by July 28, and would be held by the EC and the tribe’s Supreme Court judges on July 30. Appeals concerning the 2021 runoffs must be filed by Aug. 2.
The swearing in of new Tribal Council members is Aug. 14.