Cherokee Nation Tribal Council election
The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council features 15 physical districts and two at-large seats. (Cherokee Nation)

Early this morning, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission released unofficial results from the June 5 Cherokee Nation Tribal Council election, which featured competition for nine of the council’s 17 seats.

Five candidates won their seats outright, while four races will move on to a July 24 runoff election. All four incumbents on the June 5 ballot — Mike Dobbins, E.O. Smith, Mike Shambaugh and Victoria Vazquez — won their re-election outright.

Meredith Frailey, who previously served as Tribal Council speaker and county commissioner of Mayes County, lost the District 15 race to Danny Callison, a Mayes County educator for 41 years.

The results are unofficial — and will not include “challenged ballots” — until they are certified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission in the coming days.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council features 15 physical districts and two at-large seats for voters residing outside of the tribe’s historic reservation boundaries. Cherokee citizens were able to cast absentee ballots by mail or vote in person for races in the physical districts and by absentee mail only for the at-large seat up for grabs June 5.

In the synopses below, learn more about candidates by clicking the links on the names of those re-elected or who are moving on to the July 24 runoff.

District 2 heading to runoff

With 454 total votes reported in District 2, Bobby Slover (162 votes, or 35.7 percent) and Candessa Tehee (143 votes, or 31.5 percent) will advance to a July 24 runoff.

Five other candidates also competed in the District 2 race: Jami Murphy (62 votes), Dusty Fore (60 votes), Claude Stover (20 votes), Tonya Teaney (six votes) and Vicki Creel (one vote).

Dobbins retains District 4

Incumbent Tribal Councilor Mike Dobbins won the District 4 race with 476 votes (87 percent) over Sarah Cowett, who earned 71 votes.

Smith re-elected to District 5

In District 5, incumbent Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith won re-election with 545 votes, or 82.3 percent support.

Other candidates in that race were R.L. Bell, who received 84 votes, and Richard W. Tyler, who got 33 votes.

District 7 heading to runoff

Joshua Sam and David Comingdeer will head to the July 24 runoff for the District 7 seat. Sam received 448 votes (or 48.3 percent) while Comingdeer received 420 votes (or 45.3 percent).

Gena Kirk, the third candidate in the race, finished with 59 votes.

Shambaugh holds onto District 9

Incumbent Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh won re-election in the District 9 race with 545 votes, or 59.8 percent support.

Lawrence Panther and Joyce Nix McCarter received 226 and 140 votes, respectively.

District 10 headed to runoff

Shaun Handle-Davis and Melvina Shotpouch will meet in the July 24 runoff after finishing ahead of the rest of the District 10 field. Handle-Davis received 289 votes (or 36.1 percent), while Shotpouch got 280 votes (or 35 percent).

Other candidates in that race were John Ann Masters Thompson (199 votes), Cody Williams (13 votes), Darrel Hicks (13 votes) and Dennis Ackley (five votes).

Vazquez wins District 11 again

Incumbent Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez won re-election to District 11 with 475 votes, or 63 percent support.

Other candidates in the race were Mike Purcell (229 votes), Randy Junior White (49 votes) and Mason Hudson, who received only one vote.

Callison tops former speaker in District 15

Danny Callison won the District 15 race with 477 votes over Meredith Frailey who earned 309 votes. Frailey previously served on the Tribal Council for 10 years, and she lost the 2019 election for deputy chief.

At-large seat heading to runoff

The at-large seat up for election this cycle saw the most ballots cast: 2,461. Johnny Jack Kidwell (989 votes, or 40.1 percent) and Kyle Haskins (670 votes, or 27.2 percent) will head to the July 24 runoff.

Other candidates in that race included Marilyn Vann (543 votes), Mary-Charlotte Grayson (137 votes), Matthew Benjamin Scraper (74 votes), Robin Mayes (37 votes), Shawna Johnson (six votes) and Wallace Ryan Craig (five votes).

As noted above, these results are unofficial until certified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission.

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