Muscogee (Creek) voters will head to the polls this week, but not all of the candidates listed on the ballot are still eligible.
On Monday, Nelson Harjo, the manager for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Office, confirmed that since the candidate withdrawal period has passed, former Principal Chief George Tiger will still appear on the ballot and that those votes cast for him will be counted. However, he will not be eligible to win.
One of 10 candidates attempting to succeed current Principal Chief James Floyd, Tiger pleaded guilty Friday to one federal count of bribery in the Eastern District of Oklahoma in connection with his work for the Alabama Quassarte Tribal Town’s economic development board. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s constitution bars felons from serving as principal chief.
The primary election is scheduled for Saturday, with early walk-in voting available Wednesday and Thursday at four precincts.
If no one candidate in a race earns a majority of the votes, the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 2 general election, with early walk-in voting set for Oct. 30-31.
“This is a scenario where we don’t have 100 percent of the answers yet and we will have to get with legal counsel about the ramifications,” Harjo said. “If Mr. Tiger doesn’t get close to winning or placing in the top two, life goes on.
“If there are going to be foreseeable problems, … such as if he has enough votes to win or finish in the top two, then we will work on getting answers to those questions. If we get to that bridge, we will sit down with our legal advisers.”
Tiger could not be reached for comment.
Principal Chief Floyd announced in June that he would not run for a second term. Eligible candidates still seeking to succeed him include former Tulsa District representatives Sam Alexander and Steve Bruner, current National Council Speaker Lucien Tiger III, current National Council Second Speaker David Hill and Jackie Jackson, a Porter-based grant writer and planning director for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.
Also running are Thlopthlocco Tribal Town administrator Tim Good Voice, Tulsa construction business owner Joseph Rogers Jr., Okmulgee attorney Brenda Golden and Monte Randall, dean of academic affairs for the College of the Muscogee Nation.
A certified public accountant by trade, Alexander is a resident of Broken Arrow. Prior to his eight-year stint in the National Council, he was the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s first confirmed tax commissioner and also was member of the tribe’s gaming authority board. A former treasurer for the Osage Nation, he is an Army veteran and graduate of Northeastern State University. He previously ran for chief in 2011.
A former member of the Tulsa Police Department, Bruner is a Vietnam War veteran and smoke shop owner. He is also the owner of a Broken Arrow allotment where an attempt was made in 2017 to open a casino under the auspices of the Kialegee Tribal Town. Felony charges in the matter are still pending against Bruner in the tribe’s district court, with a trial date scheduled for Oct. 27.
The co-founder of the Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties, Golden has more than 20 years of experience in human resources in addition to her courtroom time. The Air Force veteran is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.
Currently the administrator for the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town near Okemah, Good Voice previously worked as a tribal administrator for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. During his tenure, the tribe was one of 10 nationally to secure a federal grant to build up the fiber optic infrastructure at and around its government office. A former member of the Army Reserve, he is a graduate of Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee and NSU.
A resident of Bristow, Hill has worked in the aircraft industry for three decades, including 23 years in private sector leadership roles. A National Council member since 2007, he is also a former member of the Depew Board of Education.
Porter resident Jackson has worked for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe for the last five years, developing programs and seeking out grants for the Red Rock-based tribe. The Langston University graduate is also the chairwoman of Otoe-Missouria’s Utility Board.
A Navy veteran and former member of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Randall is a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts University. He is also the founder of SONS of Mvskoke, a non-profit aimed at providing mentorship opportunities for Creek males.
Currently self-employed, Rogers is a former teacher and served as the executive director of the Ponca Housing Authority.
Jenks resident Lucian Tiger III is also self-employed. The two-session National Council speaker has worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades.
Due to term limits, Second Chief Louis Hicks is also not seeking re-election. Two current members of the National Council, Okmulgee District representative Del Beaver and McIntosh District representative Adam Jones III are vying to replace him.
In addition to the two executive branch positions, eight of the 16 National Council seats — one per district — will be on the ballot, with each carrying a four-year term. In accordance with constitutional amendments approved in 2009, voters get to cast ballots for all legislative seats, regardless of where they reside.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Jennifer Murphy talks about the Tulsa Police new reading program and school supply handout at the Darlington Apartments.