Deputy Chief Principal Chief Deputy Chief race will be decided tomorrow. Probably. Assuming there are no snafus/recounts/vanishing votes, whoever wins will be sworn in as Deputy Chief on August 14, and then immediately promoted to Principal Chief. Attorney General Diane Hammons issued an opinion, at the request of council member and Baker honcho Chuck Hoskin, Jr., that said the Deputy will run the tribe until the new election and the new chief is sworn in.
Since we don’t know when the new election will be, and since it’s a month after the general election and we still don’t have a winner, S. Joe Crittenden or Chris Soap could be running things for a while.
Soap and Crittenden have both been under the radar, but in the last couple of weeks we heard robocalls from Joe Byrd and Stacy Leeds for Crittenden, as well as some mailers from both candidates. Soap has had a lot emphasizing his family, including his late stepmother, Wilma Mankiller, while Crittenden uses pics of Baker on a lot of his mailouts.
The one controversial issue in their election was Crittenden’s support (or non support) of legislation that would have kept any Cherokees from voting by mail, even (and especially) at-large voters. So anyone in, say San Antonio, would need to come to Tahlequah or not vote at all. The measure was proposed by Jodie Fishinghawk, Crittenden’s neighbor in Adair County. It was tabled once by Fishinghawk, then the next month, (October 2010 rules committee minutes) Fishinghawk again tried to table it.
This time, the motion to table was defeated, including votes by the at-large council members who were strongly opposed to it. Supporters, like sponsor Fishinghawk, wanted to table it to bring it back, while opponents of making Texas Cherokees vote in Tahlequah, wanted it off the table so they could defeat it. After the tabling fail, Fishinghawk withdrew the legislation. Soap voted with the at-large council members, to allow folks to vote by mail. Crittenden voted with the bill’s sponsor, who wanted to deny Cherokees the right to vote by mail.
Unfortunately, (or conveniently) the video of that meeting is not available on line, so we don’t know for sure, but it sure looks like Crittenden was in favor of making it impossible for Cherokees to vote by mail. That would include even the people in Adair County who like to vote by mail, or who can’t leave the house. Crittenden says he didn’t support disenfranchising mail-in voters, but Julia Coates, an at-large tribal council representative who easily won her re-election campaign this year, disagrees.
By now, everyone with a mail-in vote should have already sent it in, but there is definitely a difference in the candidates.
If you are voting tomorrow, you might want to check out the information from the two Deputy Chief debates. The one in May, sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix, and the one in June at Rogers State.
Regardless, tomorrow night we should know who the next
deputy principal deputy chief is.