TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation early Sunday declared Chuck Hoskin Jr. winner of the principal chief's race, based on preliminary results.
As of 1:30 a.m., unofficial results from the 51 precincts across the tribe’s 14 county jurisdictional area had Hoskin leading Dick Lay 7,819-3,691 in the race for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Ballot counting continued late into the night Saturday and early Sunday morning at the Cherokee Nation Election Commission.
The tribe sent an email about 2:30 a.m. naming Hoskin the winner, along with Bryan Warner as deputy principal chief with 7,940 votes, or 59.27 percent. Warner’s opponent, Meredith Frailey, received 5,457 votes or 40.73 percent.
Additionally, as of 1:30 a.m., former candidate David Walkingstick had received 1,988 votes.
Walkingstick was disqualified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission on May 17 over allegations about potential collaboration between his campaign and Cherokees for Change, a third party limited liability corporation registered with the state of Oklahoma by Rusty Appleton, who was then his campaign’s financial agent. The tribe’s Supreme Court upheld the disqualification on Wednesday, well after absentee ballots were mailed out and the start of early walk-in voting.
The numbers were also close in the race for deputy chief, with Bryan Warner leading former Tribal Council Speaker Meredith Frailey 7,940-5,457 as of 1:30am.
Counts included absentee ballots, early walk-in voting and less than 100 of the challenge ballots cast. The election commission will reconvene on Sunday to review the remaining 406 challenge ballots.
Three of the eight seats on the Tribal Council up this election cycle are heading to a runoff, including two of the four that cover portions of the Tulsa metropolitan area.
In District 12, Dora L. Smith Patzkowski and Phyllis Lay finished first and second among four candidates to replace term-limited incumbent Dick Lay. District 12 spans all of Washington County, far northwest Tulsa County and the southern half of Nowata County.
Former Tribal Council member Julia Coates and Broken Arrow resident Johnny Jack Kidwell advanced to a run-off out of a four-candidate field for one of the council’s two at-large seats. Coates received 977 votes, or 45.36 percent, while Kidwell received 663 votes, or 30.78 percent.
Tribal citizens eligible to vote at-large includes Tulsans living south of Admiral Boulevard, as well as residents of Jenks, Broken Arrow and other communities outside the tribe’s 14 county jurisdictional area.
The incumbent, Wanda Hatfield, was disqualified in mid-April after confirmed complaints that she included campaign literature in with Cherokee Nation checks sent to at-large communities in Oregon and California, leaving four challengers for the position.
A run-off is also slated for District 3 which covers southern Cherokee County, including a sliver of Tahlequah. Unofficial results show Wes Nofire and Deb Proctor finished first and second among seven candidates for Walkingstick’s seat.
Incumbents earning a second term include District 1 councilor Rex Jordan, District 8 councilor Shawn Crittenden and District 14 councilor Keith Austin, whose district includes Tulsa County north of Highway 20 and east of U.S. Highway 75, as well as Oologah, Chelsea and part of Claremore.
In District 13, Joe Deere ran unopposed after the Cherokee Nation Election Commission ruled incumbent Buel Anglen ineligible. District 13 includes Tulsa County between Highway 20 and Admiral Boulevard, plus far southwestern Rogers County.
Sallisaw resident Daryl Legg won District 6 outright among three candidates. Warner’s district, it covers the eastern half of Sequoyah County.
Under the tribe’s election code, recount requests must be submitted by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Any appeals must be filed by 5 p.m. June 10.
A run-off election is scheduled for July 27 for any race in which a candidate does not receive a majority of the votes cast. Absentee ballot requests for the run-off election must be submitted by June 17.