Elections for five open Cherokee Nation Tribal Council seats were decided over the weekend, and another four are headed to run off elections next month.
Nine seats were up for grabs in the tribe’s general election, with four incumbents winning re-election bids and one newcomer securing a spot on the tribal council.
District 4 Tribal Council Incumbent Mike Dobbins won his re-election, defeating Sarah Cowett, 86.62 percent to 13.38 percent.
District 5 Tribal Council Incumbent E.O. Smith was successful in his bid to remain on the tribe’s legislative body. He handily defeated opponents, receiving 81.62 percent of the votes. Meanwhile, R.L. Bell and Richard W. Tyler received 13.65 percent and 4.74 percent of the votes, respectively.
District 9 Councilor Mike Shambaugh will serve another four years on the council after receiving 59.16 percent of the votes Saturday. Following him were Lawrence Panther with 25.62 percent, and Joyce Nix McCarter with 15.23 percent.
“I look forward to continuing the work that the tribe has already began through the American Rescue Plan Act funding and what we’re doing to expand our justice system in McGirt to better protect and serve everyone throughout the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” Shambaugh said. “I think there’s a lot of possibility for so much more.”
Incumbent Victoria Vazquez will continue to serve as the District 11 councilor, representing Craig, Mayes, and Nowata Counties. In her re-election run, she garnered 62.95 percent of the votes, defeating Mike Purcell, 30.57 percent; Randy Junior White, 6.35 percent; and Mason Hudson, 0.13 percent.
“As I have talked with Cherokees throughout my term, and especially during this campaign, I appreciated every Cherokee telling me about their needs and how our Nation must be there in difficult times,” said Vazquez. “I’m excited and eager to get back to work making Cherokee Nation stronger over the next four years."
Newcomer Danny Callison will serve as the tribal councilor for District 15, beating out Meredith Frailey, 59.83 percent to 40.17 percent. He took to Facebook to thank Cherokees who voted, even those who cast a ballot for his opponent.
“When I started this campaign, I said I wanted to bring a health center to Mayes County and create more jobs for Cherokees close to home,” he wrote. “That work starts tomorrow.”
Races for the Districts 2, 7, 10 and the At-large seats are headed to runoff elections July 24.
Candessa Tehee, who received 32.21 percent of the votes in the District 2 race, will face off against Bobby Slover, who pulled in 29.41 percent.
Joshua Sam, who received 49.31 percent of the votes in the District 7 election, will runoff against David Comingdeer, who had the second most votes with 44.64 percent.
Two of the six candidates in the District 10 election are headed to runoffs, with Shaunda Handle-Davis, who received 35.87 percent of votes, facing Melvina Shotpouch, who pulled in 34.92 percent.
Lastly, the At-large seat’s eight candidates have been whittled down to two. Johnny Jack Kidwell, who received 39.78 percent of the votes, will face Kyle Haskins, who received 27.04 percent of the votes.
The new slate of councilors are set to be sworn in Aug. 14. For more information on the general election, or upcoming runoff elections, visit cherokee.org.