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Election 2014: Chee defeats Begaye for Shiprock spot on Navajo Nation Council

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

SHIPROCK — Longtime educator Tom Chee defeated former state representative Ray Begaye Tuesday and will represent the Shiprock Chapter on the Navajo Nation Council.

Chee received 1,331 votes, and Begaye received 1,023 votes, according to the unofficial results.

"It's an awesome feeling to know the people trust you enough to put their votes behind you," Chee said Tuesday night.

This is the first time Chee has run for public office.

He noted that his campaign had minimum financing, and he credited his win to his habit of interacting one on one with voters throughout the campaign.

Begaye could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Both Begaye and Chee had tents set up in the Shiprock Chapter House parking lot on Tuesday, where activity was in full swing with food and music.

Shiprock resident Baadaani Dahaana stood near Chee's tent and said he talked to both candidates to hear how they would address the various issues facing the community.

"I'm right in that gray area," he said about how he would vote.

In addition to the campaign activity, there were volunteers who were collecting signatures on three petitions that called for the protection of voters' rights.

Sarah Benally, of the Red Valley Chapter in Arizona, said the first petition focused on making sure all votes are counted, and the others supported grievances against the Navajo Election Administration and the Navajo Nation Supreme Court for their handling of the election.

"Many of us are out here volunteering because we do not agree with or appreciate what they're doing with our votes," Benally said.

The idea for the petitions resulted from a rally that took place on Sunday in Shiprock, and the group is not associated with any candidate, she said.

In other races from the Northern Agency, Amber Kanazbah Crotty will represent the Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Sheep Springs, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í chapters.

Crotty won with 1,684 votes and defeated Larry Duncan, who received 1,501 votes.

Steven S. Benally won the council delegate seat for the Aneth, Mexican Water, Red Mesa, Teec Nos Pos and Tólikan chapters.

Benally received 1,085 votes, while Davis Filfred finished with 973 votes.

In the uncontested races, LoRenzo Bates received 2,269 votes in his bid to continue representing the Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tsé Daa K'aan and Upper Fruitland chapters.

Watona Kellywood received 8,756 votes for the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, and Bernadette Todacheene received 9,332 votes for the Navajo Board of Education.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and

nsmith@daily-times.com

. Follow her on Twitter

@nsmithdt

on Twitter.