TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Four newcomers were elected to the Council of the Cherokee Nation during a run-off election Saturday, according to unofficial totals from the Cherokee Nation Election Commission. They’ll join four Council incumbents who were re-elected and a fifth newcomer who was elected during the June Cherokee Nation General Election.
The four elected during the July 24 runoff include Candessa Tehee of District 2, Joshua Sam of District 7, Melvina Shotpouch of District 10, and Johnny Jack Kidwell for an at-large Tribal Council seat.
Tehee finished with 367 votes or 50.48 percent of votes cast in District 2.
“I am honored and grateful for the support I’ve received over the course of this election,” Tehee said. “My family and I want to thank everyone who made this possible. I look forward to serving all Cherokee citizens as the District 2 Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor, as we build a strong and united future together.”
Sam received 638 votes or 51.79 percent of votes cast in District 7.
“I want to thank all of my Cherokee friends and neighbors for their support in this campaign,” Sam said. “Now that the election is over, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Tribal Council to make District 7 a better place to live for all Cherokees.”
Shotpouch, who has previously served on the Council, received 384 votes or 58.63 percent of votes cast in District 10.
“I am humbled and proud to have had the support of so many Cherokees to return to the Tribal Council,” Shotpouch said. “Preservation of Cherokee heritage and culture has been my passion for most of my adult life. As your Tribal Councilwoman, I will continue to work hard. We need to ensure the threads that tie us together are stronger for the next seven generations.”
Kidwell received 1,525 votes or 60.3 percent of votes cast among at-large Cherokees.
“My family and I are grateful for the support and trust you have placed in me to serve you on Cherokee Tribal Council,” Kidwell said. “I look forward to the years ahead as we work together for a strong future for all Cherokee citizens.”
The Cherokee Nation Election Commission is set to meet to certify the vote count on July 26.
Voters in the Cherokee Nation General Election in June re-elected incumbent Tribal Councilors Mike Dobbins of District 4, E.O. Smith of District 5, Mike Shambaugh of District 9, and Victoria Vazquez of District 11. Newcomer Danny Callison won the District 15 race at that time.
Newly elected and re-elected Tribal Councilors will be sworn in on Aug. 14. For more information on the general election run-off and to see unofficial results, visit https://election.cherokee.org/election-information/unofficial-run-off-election-results.