Steven Woods, Dusk Monetathchi
From left to right, incumbent Steven Woods and Dusk Monetathchi are candidates in the Aug. 29, 2023, runoff election for the Tishomingo District's third seat on the Chickasaw Nation's Tribal Legislature. (NonDoc)

The race for the Tishomingo District’s third seat on the Chickasaw Nation’s Tribal Legislature is heading to a runoff after no single candidate received more than 50 percent support in the general election Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

Set for Aug. 29, the runoff will be between eight-time incumbent Tribal Legislator Steven Woods and former Chickasaw Lighthorse police officer Dusk Monetathchi, who received 729 votes (49.56 percent) and 653 votes (44.39 percent), respectively. Shane Langford received 89 votes (6.05 percent). Had Woods received only seven of the votes divided between Woods and Langford, he would have prevailed with a majority.

After the results were released, Monetathchi posted on Facebook.

“Family, friends guess what? We made it to round two,” Monetathchi wrote. “Yes we are in a campaign runoff!!! I’m so humbled with 653 votes, so now let’s set our goal for 100 more! My mom is already hard at it.

“We’ve gone the distance now, let’s take the win.”

As of the publication of this article, Woods had not made any campaign announcements on social media following the release of election results.

Chickasaw elections are conducted only through absentee ballots. Ballots for the runoff election are expected to be mailed out Aug. 10, and ballots will need to be received in the Chickasaw Nation Election Commission’s U.S. Post Office box no later than 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, to be considered valid. No hand-delivered ballots are accepted.

The offices of governor and lieutenant governor, four Tribal Legislature seats and one Supreme Court position were also scheduled for election this year, but only Tishomingo District Seat 3 drew challengers.

As a result, Gov. Bill Anoatubby and his son, Lt. Gov. Chris Anoatubby, were reelected by default to four-year terms. First elected as governor in 1987, Bill Anoatubby, 77, is set to serve his 10th consecutive gubernatorial term. Chris Anoatubby, 50, was elected to his first term as lieutenant governor in 2019.

Unlike some other tribes, the Chickasaw Nation does not employ term limits, and elected officials may serve an unlimited number of consecutive terms.

Also running unopposed, Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Bellefuille-Gordon, Pickens District Seat 2 legislator Connie Barker and Pontotoc District legislators J. Lisa Impson (Seat 3) and Karen Goodnight (Seat 4) will retain their positions. Legislators and Supreme Court judges serve three-year terms.

The deadline to request a recount of the general election results is set for Friday, July 28. After the runoff election, elected officials are set to be sworn in Oct. 2.

The Chickasaw Nation is headquartered in Ada, and its jurisdiction spans 7,648 square miles across 13 counties in southern Oklahoma. The Chickasaw reservation was functionally affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its McGirt v. Oklahoma decision in July 2020.