The Cherokee Nation runoff election Saturday saw three new faces elected to the Tribal Council. Sasha Blackfox-Qualls, Lisa Robison Hall and Codey Poindexter won their respective races to represent District 1, 3 and 8, respectively, according to unofficial results.
The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council is a 17-member legislative body whose sole responsibility is to establish laws and conduct business to “further the interests of the Cherokee Nation and its citizens.” All Tribal Council members are elected to four-year terms.
Of the 8,315 registered voters within Districts 1, 3 and 8, Saturday’s runoff election saw 2,829 people participate. About 52 percent of voters cast their ballots absentee, while nearly 35 percent voted the day of the election.
In the June 3 general election, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner were reelected for a second term. They were joined by incumbent Tribal Councilors Daryl Legg of District 6, Dora Patzkowski of District 12, Joe Deere of District 13 and Julia Coates, at-large. Another new member, Kevin Easley Jr. was also elected as the newest District 14 representative on the Tribal Council.
Owing to term limits, all reelected candidates will be ineligible to run for their current positions again until 2031.
The unofficial results do not include “disputed” ballots. The Cherokee Nation runoff results will be considered official after they are certified by the tribe’s Election Commission.
Defeated candidates have until Wednesday, July 12, to request recounts and until Monday, July 17, to challenge the Cherokee Nation runoff results. In 2021, one result was challenged unsuccessfully. Elected officials are expected to be sworn in on Aug. 14.
Tribal Council District 1
For Tribal Council District 1, Blackfox-Qualls received 753 votes (56.15 percent), defeating her opponent, Dale Lee Glory, who obtained 588 votes (43.85 percent).
A registered nurse who previously worked at the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Blackfox-Qualls also serves on the Hilbert Public Schools Board. During her campaign, she expressed a desire to address the “rising mental health crisis.
“My number one goal is to be responsive and provide resources and solutions in a timely manner. I plan to be available and active on day one,” she said during her campaign.
Tribal Council District 3
Hall won the race for Tribal Council District 3, receiving 508 votes (62.10 percent). Sara Drywater-Barnett received 310 votes (37.90 percent).
Hall is a trust accounts administrator at the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration‘s Cherokee Agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“I will advocate for housing for elders and families, transportation for cancer and diabetic patients living in the rural area, and donated food delivery service for elders who do not have transportation to pick up their monthly groceries,” she said during her campaign.
Tribal Council District 8
With 413 votes (61.64 percent), Poindexter won the race for Tribal Council District 8, defeating Jillian Decker, who received 257 votes, (38.36 percent).
Poindexter is a youth pastor at GracePoint Outreach Center in Baron. He is also an artist and a freelance graphic designer.
During his campaign, Poindexter identified tribal housing and water quality as top priorities.
“The only thing I’ll promise is that I’ll do my best.” he said during the campaign. “I really want to focus on our Cherokee speakers and our elders as a whole and give them the best quality care that we have.”