With the tribe’s Supreme Court invalidating all of the results of the Sept. 21 primary election due to dubious ballot security practices, Creek voters will go back to polls Nov. 2 for a new primary election.
Of the 10 candidates who originally filed for Principal Chief, six remain on the ballot. Among them are National Council Second Speaker David Hill, former Tulsa District representative Bim Stephen Bruner, National Council Speaker Lucian Tiger III, College of Muscogee (Creek) Nation dean Monte Randall, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town administrator Tim Good Voice and former Tulsa District representative Sam Alexander.
Current Principal Chief James Floyd chose not to seek a second term. Original Principal Chief candidates Brenda Golden, Jackie Jackson and Joseph Rogers Jr. all opted to withdraw from the upcoming primary.
A fourth candidate, former Principal Chief George Tiger, was disqualified after pleading guilty to one count of bribery in federal court on Sept. 13. The tribe’s constitution bars convicted felons from serving as chief.
That eligibility provision may come into play again, as Bruner still faces five felony charges in tribal court in connection with a 2017 raid on Embers Grille, a restaurant and dance hall in Broken Arrow affiliated with the Kialegee Tribal Town. The National Indian Gaming Commission twice denied a gaming license to the facility. However, according to court documents, there were 100 unlicensed slot machines on the premises at the time of the raid.
As of press time, the charges are still pending. Bruner is due back in court on Nov. 14.
In addition to Principal Chief, eight additional offices will be on the new primary ballot, including seven from the legislative branch. As per the tribe’s constitution, all Creek voters may cast a ballot for all National Council seats, regardless of where they physically live or where their ceremonial grounds are.
Tulsa District candidates Cynthia Tiger and Jerry Wilson withdrew, leaving the incumbent, Robert Hufft, unopposed.
Wagoner/Mayes/Rogers District candidate Pamela Snyder-Osmun also chose to withdraw. In the original Sept. 21 primary, Snyder-Osmun finished fourth among four candidates seeking to replace outgoing National Council member Johnnie Greene. Remaining candidates include Charles McHenry, Deirdra Soap and Terri Jorgensen.
The candidate lists for Second Chief and the remaining six National Council seats are identical to the Sept. 21 primary.
Second Chief Louis Hicks is not seeking re-election due to term limits. Okmulgee District representative Del Beaver and McIntosh District representative Adam Jones III, are running to succeed him.
Candidates for the Creek District seat include Dode Warrington Barnett, Joseph Hicks and Dean Hughes, Jr. The incumbent, Hill, is vacating his seat to run for Principal Chief.
In McIntosh District, Charles Colbert is running against incumbent Darrell Proctor.
Muskogee District candidates are Mary Crawford, Lora Harjo-King and Jessina Brown. The incumbent, Pete Beaver, chose not to run for re-election.
In Okfuskee District, Bert Robison is challenging current National Council representative Randall Hicks.
Grover Wind, Carmin Tecumseh-Williams, William Lowe, Brian Jones and Patrick Moore have all filed to run for the Okmulgee District seat being vacated by Second Chief candidate Del Beaver.
Edwin Marshall and Anna Marshall are running against current Tukvpvtce District representative Rufus Scott.
Early walk-in voting is available Oct. 30-31 at the Indian Community Buildings in Okemah, Okmulgee, Tulsa and Eufaula. The 18 Election Day precincts across the tribe’s jurisdictional area will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.
If no single candidate in a race receives a majority of the votes cast, then the top two finishers will advance to the general election, now scheduled for Dec. 14.