#NATIVEVOTE16 – LESS REPRESENTATION, NOT MORE, BUT A FEW IMPORTANT WINS TOO

Mark Trahant*

Republished with author's permission from Trahant Reports , November 9, 2016, https://trahantreports.com/2016/11/09/nativevote16-less-representation-not-more-but-a-few-important-wins-too/.

Native American representation in Congress was 0.37 percent before the election and today it’s the same, Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Markwayne Mullin were easily re-elected to the House.

But Denise Juneau, Joe Pakotas and Chase Iron Eyes were all defeated by wide margins in Montana, Washington and North Dakota.

The tally of statewide office holders will drop, though. Denise Juneau will end her term as Montana’s Supt. of Public Instruction in January. Byron Mallot was not on the ballot and he has another two years as Lt. Gov. of Alaska. But Henry Red Cloud, Ruth Buffalo, and Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun lost their bid for offices in South Dakota and North Dakota.

Native Americans running for state legislatures did not fare better, except, I should point out there are some bright spots.

Rep. Paulette Jordan, a Democrat, won re-election in deep red Idaho. She posted on Facebook: "While it is bittersweet to win in such a large loss both local and national, we must remain hopeful and optimistic that our vision of equality and balance will soon be achieved. Until that day comes: onward!"

And Montana Native legislative candidates won 8 seats from both reservation and urban districts. Elected were Shane Morigeau to represent Missoula, Garrett Lankford in Great Falls, and Frank Smith, Carolyn Pease-Lopez, Susan Webber, Rae Peppers, Jonathan Windy Boy and the lone Republican, Jason Smith.

Four Native women won in Minnesota. State Representatives Susan Allen, Peggy Flanagan, Mary Kunesh-Podein were re-elected, and a new voice, Jamie Becker-Finn.

Rep.-elect Tawna Sanchez in Oregon and Kansas re-elected Rep. Ponke-We Victors.

Still, Indian Country lost some races with really talented people. But elections are not forever. So expect to hear more in the future from: Laurel Deegan-Fricke in North Carolina, Cesar Alvarez, Cheryl Ann Kary in North Dakota, Red Dawn Foster in South Dakota, Bryan Van Stippen in Wisconsin, and, Ronda Metcalf and Sharlaine LaClair from Washington.

State and Local Races With Native Candiates, Election Night Totals

State

Office

Republican candidates

Vote %

Democratic candidates

Vote %

Third party candidate(s)

Vote %

AK

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Donald Olson (Inupiaq)

100

AK

State House

Charisse Millett (Inupiaq)

50

Pat Higgens

49

AK

State House

UNOPPOSED

Neal Foster (Inupiaq)

100

AK

State House

UNOPPOSED

Sam Kito III (Tlingit)

100

AK

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Lyman Hoffman (Yup'ik)

100

AK

State House

UNOPPOSED

Dean Westlake (Inupiaq)

100

AK

State House

William Weatherby

40

60

AZ

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Jamescita Peshlakai (Navajo)

100

AZ

State House

UNOPPOSED

Wenona Benally (Navajo)

100

AZ

State House

UNOPPOSED

Eric Descheenie (Navajo)

100

AZ

State House

Sally Ann Gonzales (Pascua Yaqui)

50

Edward Cizek III, Green

12

CA

State House

Marie Waldron

64

Andrew Maisiel Sr. (Pechanga)

37

CO

State House

Jessica Sandgren

46

Joseph Salazar (Native American descent)

55

HI

State House

Andria Tupola (Native Hawaiian)

66

Stacelynn KM Eli

34

HI

State House

UNOPPOSED

Jarrett Keohoakalole (Native Hawaiian)

100

HI

State House

UNOPPOSED

Ty Cullen (Native Hawaiian)

100

HI

State House

UNOPPOSED

James Tokioka (Native Hawaiian)

100

HI

State House

Lynn DeCoite (Native Hawaiian)

74

Nick Nikhilananda, Green

26

ID

State House

Carl Berglund

49

Paulette Jordan (Couer d'Alene)

51

ID

State House

Kelly Packer

67

Louis Archuleta (Shoshone-Bannock)

33

KA

State House

UNOPPOSED

0

Ponke-We Victors (Ponka)

100

KY

State House

James Howland

0

Reginald Meeks (Cherokee)

0

MN

State House

Lee Chatfield

68

Phil Bellfy (White Earth)

32

MN

State Senate

Andrew Mathews

71

Chilah Brown (Mille Lacs)

29

MN

State House

Anne Taylor

36

Peggy Flanagan (White Earth)

64

MN

State House

Camden Pike

36

Mary Kunesh-Podein (Standing Rock)

63

MN

State Senate

Donna Bergstrom (Red Lake)

33

Erik Simonson

66

MN

State House

Matthew Grossell

64

Jerry Loud (Red Lake)

36

MN

State House

Tracy Nelson

43

Jamie Becker-Finn (Ojibwe)

57

MN

State House

UNOPPOSED

Susan Allen (Rosebud)

100

MT

State House

Cyndi Kenck

25

Shane Morigeau (CSKT)

75

MT

State Senate

G. Bruce Meyers (Chippewa Cree)

47

Frank Smith (Assiniboine-Sioux)

53

MT

State Senate

Jason Small (Northern Cheyenne)

52

Carolyn Pease-Lopez (Crow)

48

MT

State House

Jeremy Trebas

48

Garrett Lankford (Little Shell)

52

MT

Congress

Ryan Zinke

58

Denise Juneau (MHA)

39

Rick Breckenridge, Lib.

3

MT

State House

UNOPPOSED

Susan Webber (Blackfeet)

100

MT

State House

UNOPPOSED

Sharon Stewart-Pergoy

100

MT

State House

UNOPPOSED

Rae Peppers (Northern Cheyenne)

100

MT

State House

UNOPPOSED

Jonathan Windy Boy (Chippewa Cree)

100

NM

State House

Sharon Clahchischilliage (Navajo)

54

Glojean B. Todacheene (Navajo)

46

NM

State House

UNOPPOSED

Georgene Louis (Acoma)

100

NM

UNOPPOSED

Patricia Royball Caballero (Piro Manso Tiwa)

100

NM

State House

UNOPPOSED

Doreen Wonda Johnson (Navajo)

100

NM

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

John Pinto (Navajo)

100

NM

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Benny Shendo (Jemez)

100

NM

State House

UNOPPOSED

Nick Salazar (Ohkay Wingeh)

100

NC

State Senate

John Alexander

50

Laurel Deegan-Fricke (MHA)

46

Brad Hessel, Lib.

0

NC

State House

UNOPPOSED

Charles Graham (Lumbee)

100

NC

State House

Bill Oliver

26

Cesar Alvarez (MHA)

23

(Four way race)

NC

State Senate

Dwight Cook

74

David Gipp (Standing Rock)

26

NC

State Senate

Gary Lee

71

Steve Allard (Turtle Mountain)

29

NC

Insurance Commissioner

Jon Godfread

64

Ruth Buffalo (MHA)

27

Nick Bata, Lib.

9

NC

Public Service Commission

Julie Fedorchak

69

Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun (Standing Rock)

23

Thomas Skadeland

8

NC

Congress

Kevin Cramer

69

Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock)

24

Jack Seaman, Lib.

7

NC

State House

Patrick Heinert

35

Cheryl Ann Kary (Standing Rock)

15

OK

State House

Dan Kirby (Muscogee)

60

Karen Gaddis

40

OK

State House

John Paul Jordan

65

Mike Bounds

28

Sooner Davenport (Apache, Kiowa)

8

OK

State House

Mark McBride (Potawatomi)

UNOPPOSED

OK

Congress

MarkWayne Mullin (Cherokee)

71

Joshua Harris-Till

23

John McCarthy, Ind.

6

OK

State House

Rhonda Baker

67

Dennis Purifoy (Choctaw)

33

OK

State House

Rhonda Hopkins

33

William Fourkiller (Cherokee)

63

Shannon Grimes

OK

State House

Scott Fetgatter (Choctaw)

54

Ronnie Kell

46

OK

Congress

Tom Cole (Chickasaw)

70

Christina Owen

30

Sevier White, Lib.

0

OK

State House

UNOPPOSED

Chuck Hoskins (Cherokee)

100

OK

State House

UNOPPOSED

Cory Williams (Muscogee)

100

OR

State House

UNOPPOSED

Tanwa Sanchez (Shoshone-Bannock)

100

SD

Public Utilities Commission

Chris Nelson

75

Henry Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota)

25

0

SD

State House

Elizabeth May

26

Red Dawn Foster (Oglala Lakota)

23

(Two of four win)

SD

State House

Larry Zikmund

30

J.R. LaPlante (Cheyenne River)

15

(Two of four win)

SD

State House

Steve Livermont

26

Jim Bradford (Oglala Lakota)

22

SD

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Troy Heinert (Rosebud)

100

SD

State Senate

UNOPPOSED

Kevin Killer (Oglala Lakota)

100

UT

State House

UNOPPOSED

Angela Romero (Native American descent)

100

WA

Congress

Cathy McMorris-Rodgers

58

Joe Pakootas (Colville)

42

0

WA

State House

Howard Pellett

Jeff Morris (Tsimshian First Nation)

100

WA

State House

Jay Rodne (Bad River)

50

Jason Ritchie

50

*Incomplete count

WA

State House

John Koster

59

Ronda Metcalf (Sauk Suiattle)

41

WA

State House

Luanne Van Werven

55

Sharlaine LaClair (Lummi)

46

WA

State Senate

Tom Tiffany

63

Bryan Van Stippen (Oneida)

37

0

WY

State Senate

Affie Ellis

60

Floyd Esquibel

40

*Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports.

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