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The Latest: Navajo presidential hopeful picks new VP

September 4, 2018

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on the selection of Navajo Nation vice presidential candidates (all times local):

4 p.m.

A Navajo presidential candidate has selected a new running mate after finding out his previous pick was ineligible.

Joe Shirley Jr. chose Buu Van Nygren, a 31-year-old with a background in construction management from the Utah portion of the reservation.

Shirley announced earlier Tuesday that Peter Deswood III would join his ticket. But the tribe’s election office says Deswood isn’t a registered voter and, therefore, is ineligible to be a vice presidential candidate.

Nygren has a bachelor’s degree in construction management and a master’s in business administration from Arizona State University. Nygren works for a national construction company as an operations trainer.

Shirley will face Jonathan Nez in the Nov. 6 general election.

Nez chose Myron Lizer, who runs hardware stores on the reservation, as his running mate.

3:30 p.m.

A former Navajo Nation president hoping to recapture the office had to pick a new running mate.

Joe Shirley Jr. announced the selection of high school principal Peter Deswood III at a news conference Tuesday in Window Rock.

But Shirley’s campaign manager, Patrick Sandoval, says Deswood isn’t a registered voter and isn’t eligible to join the ticket. Sandoval says the campaign must pick another vice president.

The deadline is close of business Tuesday.

Deswood says believed he was registered but was among more than 55,000 Navajos recently purged from the voter rolls. Tribal law says that’s done when voters do not cast ballots in two consecutive major elections.

Shirley will face current tribal Vice President Jonathan Nez in the general election.

12 p.m.

A Navajo Nation businessman and an educator are joining the tickets of two men vying for the tribal presidency.

Current Vice President Jonathan Nez and former tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. announced their running mates Tuesday in the tribal capital of Window Rock.

Nez chose Myron Lizer, who owns hardware stores on the reservation. Shirley chose Peter Deswood III, the principal at Rocinante High School in northwestern New Mexico.

Presidential candidates don’t run on party lines but typically pick a running mate from another state to broaden their voter base.

Shirley is from Arizona and Deswood lives in New Mexico.

Nez bucked the tradition. He and Lizer both are from Arizona.

The candidates will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

The reservation is the country’s largest at 27,000 square miles, also taking in part of southern Utah.

6:30 a.m.

The candidates for Navajo Nation president are expected to announce their picks for running mate.

Current Vice President Jonathan Nez and former tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. emerged as the top two finishers in last week’s primary election. They were among a record field of 18 presidential hopefuls.

They have until the close of business Tuesday to let election officials know who will join their ticket. The general election is Nov. 6.

Nez and Shirley both are from the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation.

Candidates typically choose a running mate from another state to broaden their voter base.

The reservation is the country’s largest at 27,000 square miles. It also extends into Utah and New Mexico.

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