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Yazzie first, Smith second in primary election

Noel Lyn Smith
nsmith@daily-times.com

SHIPROCK — Shiprock Chapter presidential candidates Duane "Chili" Yazzie and Dan Smith finished in the top two spots in today's primary election on the Navajo Nation.

Yazzie, who is the incumbent, faced drew four challengers. The unofficial results show he finished first with 37.8 percent, followed by Smith with 23.4 percent. The top two finishers in the race qualify for the general election in November.

Donald Benally finished third with 23 percent, Nate Ellison finished fourth with 9.1 percent and William Lee finished fifth with 6.2 percent.

When reached for comment this evening, Yazzie said he made it a point not to campaign because he wanted to see if the chapter membership still has confidence in his leadership.

"I appreciate the people for continuing to have confidence in me," Yazzie said.

In a text message sent to The Daily Times, Smith said, "The people desire to see progress, and the new generation is on the move."

Benally could not be reached for comment this evening.

Voter Hosteen Valencia, left, is assisted by election official Renae Bennett as he casts his ballot Tuesday at the Tse Daa K'aan Chapter house in Hogback.

Edison Wauneka, executive director of the Navajo Election Administration in Window Rock, Ariz., said in an interview after the polls closed at 7 p.m. that there were no problems at any of the 110 chapter precincts.

"I'll be surprised if we get 25 percent," Wauneka said about the nationwide voter participation.

Wauneka said he thinks the low turnout is due to the fact that 80 percent of the 110 chapter ballots have either uncontested races or two candidates for positions, so they automatically qualify the Nov. 8 general election.

As of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, the nationwide voter participation was 21 percent, according to the election administration. Voter participation for the Northern Agency was 28.06 percent as of 9:15 p.m., the election administration reported.

A change in local leadership was on the mind of some voters during today’selection.

Coral Singer and her daughter, Micheala Kee, cast ballots at the Shiprock Chapter house.

Voters line up to receive their ballots Tuesday during the Navajo Nation's primary election at the Tse Daa K'aan Chapter house in Hogback.

"I wanted my voice to be heard," Singer said when asked her reason for voting.

Singer was among those who cast a ballot for Smith.

"I wanted someone new with new ideas and a new outlook," Singer said.

She added that her candidates of choice need to look at bring new businesses, and a new economy and jobs to the community.

This was a Kee's first time to vote, and before she cast her ballot, she visited with the candidates at the tents that were set up in the chapter house parking lot.

"I hope whoever I voted for wins. It'll be nice," Kee said about her voting experience.

Marcus Benally was among those who cast a ballot for Donald Benally in the race for Shiprock Chapter president.

"I did the best I could in choosing the candidates we had," Marcus Benally said, adding the future leadership needs to address employment opportunities, crime, drug abuse and domestic violence within the community.

Voters line up Tuesday to take part in the Navajo Nation primary elections at the Shiprock Chapter house.

In the Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter, resident Leonard Begay voted because he wants to see change in the community. After years of watching the same individuals being re-elected, Begay said his selection of candidates focused on "a new change."

Hosteen Valencia, 26, said he thinks the candidates he voted for are ones who could address issues facing the community.

"I want to be part of my community," Valencia said.

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

Northern Agency primary election unofficial results

Results for chapter offices as of 10 p.m. Tuesday

Contested races

Beclabito Chapter — 213 ballots cast
Chapter vice president
Hazel Sherman: 128 votes
Jerry Benally: 79 votes

Gadii'ahi-Tokoi Chapter — 170 ballots cast 
Chapter president
Carol Etcitty-Roger: 71 votes
Harry Descheene Jr.: 95 votes

Newcomb Chapter — 165 total ballots cast 
Chapter vice president
Willamena Smith: 104 votes 
Irving "Ervin" Gleason: 159 votes

San Juan Chapter – 112 ballots cast
Chapter vice president
Shawn S. Mike: 61 votes
Sam Bee: 49 votes

Shiprock Chapter — 1,402 ballots cast
Chapter president
Donald Benally: 323 votes
Nate Ellison: 127 votes
Duane Yazzie: 531 votes
Dan Smith: 329 votes
William Lee: 88 votes

Chapter vice president
Marian John: 288 votes
Wallace Ben: 349 votes
Nevina Kinlahcheeny: 719 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Beverly Maxwell: 608 votes
Dr. J. "Kaibah" Begay: 750 votes

Grazing committee member
Robert Hayes: 693 votes
David C. Burbank: 650 votes

Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter — 192 ballots cast
Chapter president
Eliolieta M. Holtsoi: 62 votes
Perry J. Begay Sr.: 127 votes

Chapter vice president
Nancy Begay: 93 votes
Harrison LaMone: 97 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Elevena Begay: 120 votes
Samantha Begay: 70 votes

Toadlena-Two Grey Hills Chapter — 251 ballots cast
Chapter vice president
Veronica M. Begay: 60 votes
LaVera M. Curley: 59 votes
Andrew Deschenie: 127 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Lolita Spencer: 111 votes
Angie Frank: 136 votes

Tooh Haltsooí Chapter — 282 ballots cast
Council of Nataani president
Tommy L. Sandman: 53 votes
Rose Charlie: 24 votes
Ernest Smith: 50 votes 
Brian T. Yazzie: 153 votes

Council of Nataani vice president
Sadie W. Dez: 185 votes
Hannabah K. James: 60 votes
Louise Charley: 37 votes

Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter — 619 ballots cast
Chapter president
Ruthda W. Thomas: 239 votes
Alonzo Cohoe: 92 votes
Remnita Henderson: 93 votes

Chapter vice president
Wilson Howard: 93 votes
Gerald Henderson: 407 votes
Harvey Begay Jr.: 109 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Temara Lewis-Emerson: 228 votes
LaVerda D. Washburn: 194 votes
Ray C. Nahkai Sr.: 190 votes

Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter — 402 ballots cast
Chapter president
James Pioche: 178 votes
Charlie T. Jones Jr.: 220 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Reichell N. Salt: 206 votes
Dorothy A. Begaye: 186 votes

Farm Board member
George Murphy: 157 votes
Jean Jones: 241 votes

Upper Fruitland Chapter — 426 ballots cast
Chapter president
Robert Allen: 185 votes
Lynlaria R. Williams-Dickson: 235 votes

Chapter vice president
Faye BlueEyes: 262 votes
Hilda Murphy Soce: 160 votes

Grazing Committee member
Ray H. Jim Jr.: 252 votes
Laurence Bekise: 171 votes

Uncontested races

Beclabito Chapter — 213 ballots cast
Chapter president
Raymond H. Charley: 180 votes 

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Larry L. Jack: 194 votes

Gadii'ahi-Tokoi Chapter — 170 ballots cast
Chapter secretary-treasurer
Sylvia A. Tyler: 141 votes

Grazing Committee member
Douglas R. Diswood: 138 votes

Farm Board member
Gilbert Harrison Sr.: 142 votes

Nenahnezad Chapter — 191 ballots cast
Chapter President
Norman Cudei Begaye: 143 votes

Chapter vice president
Lucinda Yellowman-Bennalley: 165 votes

Grazing Committee member
Harold Dodge: 151 votes

Farm Board member
Tracy Raymond: 136 votes

Newcomb Chapter — 165 ballots cast
Chapter president
David Randolph Sr.: 149 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Donna L. Benally: 146 votes

Grazing Committee member
Lawrence C. Gould: 152 votes

San Juan Chapter — 112 ballots cast
Chapter president
Rickie Nez: 95 votes

Chapter secretary-treasurer
Audrey Nez: 84 votes

Shiprock Chapter — 1,402 ballots cast
Farm Board member
Dineh Benally: 952 votes

Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter — 192 total ballots cast
Grazing Committee Member
Tanner Jacob Begaye: 166 votes

Toadlena-Two Grey Hills Chapter – 251 ballots cast
Chapter president
Stanley Hardy: 226 votes

Grazing Committee member
Derry Lewis: 238 votes

Tooh Haltsooí Chapter — 282 ballots cast
Council of Nataani secretary-treasurer
Sally Ann Joe: 202 votes

Grazing Committee member
Bennie Joe: 194 votes

Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter — 619 ballots cast
Grazing Committee member
Elouise Brown: 441 votes

Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter — 402 ballots cast
Chapter vice president
Matthew D. Tso: 291 votes

Grazing Committee member
Kenneth J. Johnson: 156 votes

Upper Fruitland Chapter – 426 ballots cast
Chapter secretary-reasurer
Lynelle Lee-Etsitty: 379 votes