Cherokee Nation leadership election set for Saturday
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Citizens of the Cherokee Nation are set to decide who will be their principal chief, deputy principal chief, and eight tribal council seats.
The tribe will vote Saturday, the Journal Record reported. The Tulsa Regional Chamber is intently watching the election since they consider the tribe a beneficial economic development ally.
One tribal council seat is for an at-large position, which represents Cherokee citizens who reside outside of the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction, which includes residents in Oklahoma City.
More than 74,000 citizens are registered to vote in the election. The tribe has 370,000 citizens in total, including over 246,000 Cherokees who reside in Oklahoma. The tribal government and Cherokee Nation Businesses employ more than 11,000 people.
The chamber’s rapport with the Cherokee Nation has progressed considerably under Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s leadership. But Baker is not allowed to seek re-election after serving two successive terms.
“The Cherokee Nation has been so involved with us from an economic development perspective, especially in regards to the recruitment of new businesses, new companies, new employees, and an existing business and retention perspective,” Neal said.
Neal added that the chamber has had discussions with the contenders and feels that the leading principal chief candidate, Chuck Hoskin Jr., will continue cultivating the tribe’s excellent relationship with the organization.
Hoskin, tribe’s former secretary of state who previously served on the tribal council, has chosen deputy chief candidate Bryan Warner as his running mate.
Warner, the director at Carl Albert State College’s Sallisaw campus, has served on the Cherokee Nation tribal board since 2015.
The last remaining principal chief candidate is Dick Lay, who does not have a deputy chief running partner. Lay, a rancher in the nation’s District 12, lives in Ochelata. He’s been on the tribal board since 2011.
Hoskin and Warner have amassed the most contributions, which collectively total more than $1 million, according to the candidates’ financial disclosure report.
Several notable Democratic leaders have financially backed the Hoskin campaign, which includes former Oklahoma Govs. David Walters and Brad Henry.
Hoskin has also received $140,060 from residents outside Oklahoma. Donations came from numerous states, which include Arkansas, Texas and California. Warner collected $53,728 from people outside Oklahoma.
As of the May report, Lay had $10,292 in his campaign account, though the funds mostly came from personal loans.
Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com