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Pauly Denetclaw
ICT

This article will be updated throughout the day.

NAVAJO NATION ELECTION

Current Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and former vice presidential candidate Buu Nygren will go head to head in the tribe’s presidential election in November.

Both garnered the most votes out of a 15-candidate pool. More than 47,501 Navajo voters cast ballots in the tribe's primary election — a nearly 39 percent turnout among more than 123,000 registered voters, according to unofficial results from the tribe's election office. The tribe generally sees a turnout of around 50 percent. The results won't be certified until after a challenge period.

Nez brought in more than 17,000 votes in the primary election, and Nygren got nearly 13,000 with all 110 precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. Rounding out the top five were attorney Justin Jones, former Navajo Attorney General Ethel Branch and Greg Bigman, chairman of the Diné College Board of Regents, who collectively received nearly 14,000 votes.

The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Related: 'Once upon a time… Navajo women led'

KANSAS

In Kansas, Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, will be facing Republican candidate Amanda Adkins for a second time in a more conservative congressional district 3. After redistricting the mostly suburban district took on more rural voters, making the seat a toss-up.

This is a key race nationally as the Republican moves to flip the House.

Kansas also maintained the right to access abortion care in the state becoming one of the first states to take the issue to the ballot box.

MICHIGAN

State Sen. Adam Hollier, Muscogee, conceded in the democratic primary for congressional District 13 last night. He garnered 23 percent of the votes and came in second. The Democratic primary was packed with a total of nine candidates.

District 13 is a majority Black district and for the first time since 1955 might not have a Black representative in Congress. State Rep. Shri Thanedar poured millions of his own money into his campaign and led with 28 percent of the votes.

ARIZONA

Mae Peshlakai and Myron Tsosie, both Diné, will be representing state House District 6 in the state legislature. Peshlakai previously served as a state Senator for District 7 and Tsosie was the incumbent in the race.

WASHINGTON STATE

Of the six Indigenous candidates running for public office in Washington state, four will advance to the general election. Results are still pending for one of the races.

Claudia Kauffman, Nez Perce, is trailing by a little less than 3,000 votes and received 27.98 percent of the early tally. Kauffman is in the race for state senator in the 47th district.

Benacio Garcia III, who identifies as a Black Seminole and Latino descendant, got only 1 percent of the votes. The Republican ran for the U.S. House of Representatives for the state’s 4th district.

Laurene Contreras, Yakama, got a little over 30 percent of the votes and will head to the general election as one of the top two candidates.

Daryl Williams, Tulalip, trailed his opponent by just 1 percent to his opponent Julio Cortes for legislative district 38. He will also head to the general election.

Debra Lekanoff, Tlingit, is currently the only Native representative in the state Legislature. She is running unopposed for her state house seat for the 40th district.

Seeking to be one of the state House representatives for district 47 is Chris Stearns, Navajo. He was the first Native elected to the city council in Auburn. Stearns heads to the general election.

MICHIGAN

As of 11:40 p.m. ET and five percent of the votes reported, Adam Hollier, Muscogee, holds an early lead in Michigan’s District 13 Democratic primary for the U.S. House seat over Portia Roberson who currently sits in second place.

Hollier is currently the state senator for District 2.

KANSAS

In Kansas, state Rep. Christina Haswood, Diné, ran unopposed with no Democrat or Republican challengers. This paves the way for her to be reelected to her position representing state district 10.

In her initial election two years ago, Haswood made history by becoming the youngest person elected to state office in the country.

Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, also ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for one of the state’s U.S. House Congressional seats. Davids will face Amanda Adkins in the general election after the Associated Press called the Republican primary in her favor.

Voters in the midwestern state voted against a referendum that could have further restricted abortion access or had it banned outright. The proposed amendment to the state constitution would have “added language stating that it does not grant the right to abortion,” according to an article from the Associated Press.

Related: Kansas voters protect abortion rights, block path to ban

ARIZONA

Of the states with primaries on Aug. 2, Arizona has the second-most Indigenous candidates on the ballot with five. Three of whom are running for the same state House seat in district 6.

As of 12 a.m. eastern, 17 percent of precincts had reported the votes.

Theresa Hatahlie, Diné, ran unopposed and will serve in the state Senate for district 4.

Three citizens of the Navajo Nation were vying for two seats to represent state House district 6. Mae Peshlakai holds an early lead with 44.22 percent of the reported votes. Myron Tsosie follows her with 36.85 percent of the early voting returns and Deydrek Scott rounds out the three with 18.93 percent.

Two people represent each district in the Arizona state House.

Victoria Steele, Seneca, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for a four-year term as Justice of the Peace for precinct 1 in Pima County.

Unofficial results for the election for the Navajo Nation president also reached the over-halfway point, with 64 of the 110 chapters reporting results.

Jonathan Nez holds the lead, receiving 9,981 votes compared to Buu Nygren who has so far gotten 7,057 votes. The top two vote getters in the Navajo presidential election move on to the general election

WASHINGTON STATE

Benacio Garcia III, who identifies as a Black Seminole and Latino descendant, is the lone Native candidate in the state running for a Congressional seat in U.S. House District 4. With over 75,000 votes cast in the latest update, Garcia has garnered 1.49 percent of the total vote.

As for the state legislative races, Laurene Contreras trails her opponent by nearly 6,000 votes in early returns for state house district 14.

Daryl Williams, Tulalip, is one of four candidates in the 38th district primary. Currently he sits in the second position with 21.12 percent of the vote, only behind Julio Cortes who leads with 40.22 percent.

Debra Lekanoff, Tlingit, is currently the only Native representative in the state Legislature. She is running unopposed for her state house seat for the 40th district. She recently told ICT, “Our state legislature would benefit from having more Indigenous representatives and senators.”

Related: Indigenous candidates seek election to Washington state Legislature

Seeking to be one of the state House representatives for the 47th district is Chris Stearns, Navajo. He was the first Native elected to the city council in Auburn and currently leads the crowded field to head to the state Legislature.

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The Democrat held an early lead that doubled the rest of the field with 36.01 percent of the reported vote. The next closest candidate, Shukri Olow had 17.96 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the six candidates in Washington state, Claudia Kaufman, Nez Perce, is one of three candidates for state senator for the 47th district. Kaufman trailed by a little less than 3,000 votes and received 27.98 percent of the early tally.

As polls start to close in the eastern and central time zones, ICT will keep an eye on the Indigenous candidates running in their respective races.

In Michigan, veteran Adam Hollier, Muscogee, is seeking to become the first Black Native American elected to Congress in the state’s 13th Congressional District. Polls closed at 8 p.m. local time and results have yet to start coming in.

Hollier is running against eight other candidates in the district’s Democratic primary. The district encompasses most of Detroit.

In Kansas, Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for Congressional district 3. Less than three percent of the votes have been returned in the Republican primary but the early numbers suggest Davids will be running against Amanda Adkins in the general election.

Davids faces a different battle in this reelection cycle as her district was redrawn, bringing in more conservative voters compared to the last time she ran.

Stay tuned for an update to this article as polls will soon be closing in Arizona and Washington state where five and six Indigenous candidates are running, respectively. 

In Kansas, Christina Haswood, Diné, cast her ballot in Douglas County.

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, cast her ballot.

In Arizona and the Navajo Nation, voters are hitting the polls.

Adam Hollier, Muscogee, is still out meeting voters on this election day.

It was a quiet month in July for Indigenous candidates running for state and national office. But that changes with the Aug. 2 primary elections. Arizona, Kansas, Washington, and Michigan all have Indigenous candidates.

There are five candidates running for office in Arizona and there are six candidates running in Washington.

The fifth state holding a primary election Tuesday is Missouri, so far the list compiled by ICT does not list an Indigenous candidate. If there is a candidate missing, please email political correspondent, Pauly Denetcaw, at pauly@ictnews.org to add the names of any past or present candidates.

MICHIGAN

Adam Hollier, Muscogee, is running for U.S House in District 13 as a Democrat. Hollier is currently a state senator for District 2. He was elected in 2018.

A lifelong resident of Detroit, Hollier is running to represent the neighborhoods between Grosse Point down river to Romulus in the Motor City. He is one of three top contenders in the packed Democratic primary. The largely blue-leaning district has a total of nine candidates.

According to polling, State Rep. Shri Thanedar leads at 22 percent, followed by Portia Roberson at 17 percent, and close behind is Hollier at 16 percent. A couple months ago, Hollier was polling at around 6 percent. Thanedar has poured millions of his own money into his campaign and it appears to have paid off.

Outside PAC money, nearly $5 million to boost the Hollier campaign has evened the playing field, he told OpenSecrets, “the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy,” according to its website.

Hollier is running on a platform of a living wage, boosting quality jobs, supporting small businesses, access to clean water, common sense gun reform, increasing homeownership as a way to build wealth, access to public transportation, supporting women’s rights, affordable childcare, quality education, supporting military defense and veterans, LGBTQ+ rights and equality, voting rights and a clear pathway to citizenship.

He attended Detroit Public Schools before attending Cornell University where he graduated with a degree in industrial and labor relations.

Adam Hollier, Muscogee, is currently a state senator in Michigan. He is making the leap to Congress and running for is running for Michigan's House District 13. He is one of the top three contenders this election. (Courtesy of Michigan State Senate)

Then, Hollier enlisted in the U.S. Army, “where he was honored as a Distinguished military graduate from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning,” according to his website. He remains active in the Army Reserve in the 412th Civil Affairs BN airborne where he is a team chief and paratrooper. Hollier has a master’s in urban planning from the University of Michigan.

He returned to Detroit, where Hollier began his public service first serving as chief of staff for State Sen. Bert Johnson, and then a senior member for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s office. After his time in those offices, Hollier ran for Michigan state Senate and won.

Voting information for Michigan can be found here.

KANSAS

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, is running for reelection in a newly redrawn Congressional district 3. Redistricting brought in more conservatives voters making this a competitive race for Davids.

Davids, who was first elected in 2018, is facing Amanda Adkins, who was endorsed by many Republicans including Cherokee citizen and U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, of New Mexico. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, have also endorsed Adkins.

Davids is the only Democratic candidate and will head to the general election in November. The primary will bring more clarity to how much support Adkins has in district 3.

Candidate Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, before winning a seat in Congress in 2018. Kansas Republicans are keen on making sure that new voters are added to Davids’ district ensuring her defeat. In a recent tweet, Davids calls the system for redistricting “broken.” (Photo by Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today)

The district is considered a toss-up and too close to definitively to predict. But FiveThirstyEight has predicted that Adkins could win by a narrow margin. However, it is still too early to know.

As for the state race, Christina Haswood, Diné, ran unopposed. There were no other Democrat or Republican candidates. She is likely to be reelected to a second term to represent state district 10. Haswood made history two years ago becoming the youngest person elected to state office.

Incumbents Stephanie Myers, Chickasaw, and Ponka-We Victors, Tohono O'odham and Ponca, are both retiring from the Kansas state House this election cycle. Leaving Haswood, as the lone Indigenous representative for state office in Kansas. Byers was the first transgender person elected to office in Kansas when she was elected in 2020. After six terms, representing state district 103, Victors is retiring from public office and is not seeking reelection. Victors has held her seat since 2011.

Information about voting in Kansas can be found here.

WASHINGTON STATE

Candidates for state Legislature in Washington state hope to boost the number of Indigenous people serving in the state’s House and Senate.

Of the state’s 147 legislators — 98 in the state House of Representatives and 49 in the state Senate — only one is Native American: state Rep. Debra Lekanoff, Tlingit, of the 40th District. READ MORE.

ARIZONA

Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren is in the race to represent state House district 7. She was sworn in after her predecessor, Arlando Teller, accepted a job with the Biden administration. It made her the youngest member of the state House at 25 years old.

Other Indigenous people running for state office in Arizona include:

  • Sally Ann Gonzales, Pasqua Yaqui, for Senate District 3 as a Democrat;
  • Victoria Steele, Seneca, for Justice of the Peace as a Democrat;
  • Jennifer Jermaine, Seneca, for House District 18 as a Democrat; and
  • Myron Tsosie, Diné, for House District 7 as a Democrat.

To read more, including about the Navajo Nation presidential primary, click here

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This story has been corrected to spell Chris Stearns' name accurately.

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