Navajo Nation Northern Agency voters narrow down candidates in delegate races
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ. — Voters in the Navajo Nation's Northern Agency narrowed down their choices for tribal council delegates during the Navajo Nation primary election on Tuesday.
Shiprock Chapter had nine candidates vying to represent it, and former state representative Ray Begaye came out on top with 540 votes, according to unofficial results. He could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.
Tom Chee finished second with 468 votes. He said he was thankful to his supporters and added that he wants to unify Shiprock as a council delegate, if elected.
Chee also said he pledges to use his base salary as a delegate for community projects that bring elders and young people together. Navajo council delegates make about $24,000 a year.
"That's my pledge to them. I am dedicated to the welfare of the youth and elders," he said in a phone interview.
The field for delegates looking to represent seven Northern Agency chapters — New Mexico's Beclabito, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Sheep Springs, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í-Sanostee chapters and Arizona's Red Valley and Cove chapters — was also cut down from seven to two.
Larry Duncan, of the Tsé Alnaozt'i'í-Sanostee Chapter, won the primary with 662 unofficial votes. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Amber Kanazbah Crotty, director of the Diné Policy Institute, came in second place with 572 votes unofficially. She said she hopes voters take her experience into consideration as they prepare to vote in November's general election.
Crotty, of the Sheep Springs Chapter, worked as a legislative assistant for Council Delegate Nelson Begaye. She said that experience helps her understand the role delegates play in establishing policy.
"I would like voters to consider my experience and background of working on legislative issues," she said.
She added she has experience in county, state and federal issues and wants to continue working to complete the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Pipeline.
Voters on Tuesday also narrowed down the two candidates who want to represent Arizona's Mexican Water, Sweetwater-Tolikan and Teec Nos Pos chapters and Utah's Red Mesa and Aneth chapters. Five candidates were listed on the primary ballot.
Former council delegate Davis Fildred, of the Aneth Chapter, won the race with 869 unofficial votes. Tolikan Chapter's Steven S. Benally ended in second with 435 votes. Neither could be reached for comment.
The delegate race for the San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Newcomb, Tse'Daa'Kaan, Nenahnezad and Upper Fruitland Chapters was set even before Tuesday primary election, with only two candidates filing for the seat.
Upper Fruitland Chapter's LoRenzo Bates, current delegate and interim speaker of the tribal council, will face former delegate George Arthur, of the San Juan Chapter.