Incumbent Russell Begaye will face 18 challengers for office

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GALLUP — Four men and one woman from the Northern Agency are among the 19 tribal members from New Mexico and Arizona who have filed to run for president of the Navajo Nation.

The filing deadline was Wednesday for the presidency, the Navajo Nation Council, the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, the Navajo Nation Board of Education and other offices.

The unofficial candidate list was released this week by the Navajo Election Administration.

Incumbent Russell Begaye, Dineh Benally and Tom Chee, all from the Shiprock Chapter, and Trudie Jackson and Tom Tso, both of the Teec Nos Pos Chapter, filed for the presidency.

Also filing for president were Vice President Jonathan Nez, of the Shonto Chapter; Norman Patrick Brown and Joe Shirley Jr., both of the Chinle Chapter; Benny Bahe, of the Houck Chapter; Lester Begay, of the Whiterock Chapter; Kevin Cody of the Piñon Chapter; Emily Ellison, of the Chichiltah Chapter; Rex Lee Jim, of the Rock Point Chapter; Calvin Lee Jr., of the Greasewood Springs Chapter; Hope MacDonald-Lonetree, of the Tó Nanees Dizí Chapter; Shawn T. Redd, of the Dilkon Chapter; Alton Joe Shepherd of the Ganado Chapter; Nick X. Taylor, of the Klagetoh Chapter; and Vincent H. Yazzie, of the Tolani Lake Chapter.

Navajo Nation Council

Incumbents Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Davis Filfred are facing challengers for their seats on the council.

Crotty is being challenged by Irvin Tyler and Lee J. Zhonnie to represent the chapters of Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills, Tooh Haltsooí and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í.

Filfred is being challenged by Herman Farley, David L. John and Charlaine Tso for the Aneth, Mexican Water, Red Mesa, Teec Nos Pos and Tólikan chapters.

Eugenia Charles-Newton, Cheryl George, Marian John, Nevina D. Kinlahcheeny, Vern R. Lee and Dan Smith are seeking to represent the Shiprock Chapter.

Rickie Nez and Matthew D. Tso are vying to represent the Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tsé Daa K'aan and Upper Fruitland chapters.

Also seeking re-election are delegates Kee Allen Begay Jr., Nelson S. BeGaye, Norman M. Begay, Steven Begay, Benjamin Bennett, Nathaniel Brown, Seth Damon, Herman M. Daniels, Lee Jack Sr., Jonathan Perry, Walter Phelps, Tuchoney Slim Jr., Raymond R. Smith Jr., Otto Tso, Leonard Tsosie and Edmund E. Yazzie.

Overall, 87 tribal members filed applications to serve on the 24-member council.

Election, education board seats open

The election board and the education board each have one seat open from the Central, Eastern, Fort Defiance, Northern and Western agencies.

Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter member Watona Kellywood is seeking re-election to the election board for the Northern Agency.

Hoskie Bryant and Micheal T. Clani are vying for two commissioner seats for the Naschitti Community Governance in the Naschitti Chapter.

No one from the Northern Agency filed for the board of education, and three residents in Kayenta, Arizona, filed for open seats on the Kayenta Township Commission.

Shortened filing period in effect

Tribal law was amended last year to reduce the filing period for candidacy from 90 days to 14 days.

The change also reduced the candidate application review period by the election administration from 30 days to 14 days. Within 14 days after the filing period closes, the election office must review, verify and determine qualifications for candidates based on the face of the applications.

The election administration has the authority to determine ineligibility, and a disqualified candidate has the right to file an appeal to the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

Murray Lee, department manager for the election office, said election board members could certify the candidate list as early as June 14.

The primary election is Aug. 28, and the general election is Nov. 6.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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