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Kolby KickingWoman
Indian Country Today

Paulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, has lost her bid to become the first Native woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

She faced an uphill battle as she challenged Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Risch in historically conservative Idaho. 

The Associated Press called the race for Risch before any votes were reported, which often means the call was based on polls and other data.

— US House candidates make history
— Native candidates light up state, local ballots

Jordan was the only Native candidate in the running for the Senate on Tuesday. Thirteen Natives are running for U.S. House, and one is seeking the presidency.

Jordan said she was the best candidate for Idaho because she rises above the hyper-partisanship that plagues the nation’s capital and believes that now, more than ever, Indigenous voices need to be in places of authority.

(Related: Paulette Jordan’s historic Senate bid)

“They're relying on responsible leadership, and responsible leadership is going to come through my Indigenous voice. And because I'm not beholden to any party, not beholden to any corporation, not beholden to any money,” Jordan told Indian Country Today. “My voice is sincerely attached to what is good for everyone, all walks of life and, of course, nature.”

When Risch last ran in 2014, he won by 30.6 percentage points. In fact, Idaho hasn’t had a Democratic senator since 1981.

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Mark Charles

Meanwhile, independent Mark Charles, Diné, is seeking the presidency and appears on the ballot in one state, Colorado, according to his website. He's also encouraging supporters to vote via write-in in the more than two-dozen states where he's eligible and in Washington, D.C.

Independent candidates can typically petition each state to have their names on the general election ballot, but the process is complicated, and states can differ on requirements like deadlines, signatures needed and fees. 

Mark Charles, Navajo, runs for the 2020 election as an Independent candidate.

Charles, a son of a Navajo man and a American-Dutch woman, announced his presidential campaign in May 2019, with a focus on explaining what the Constitution's “We the People” really means.

“I am working hard to help you understand that the changes I'm advocating for are not that radical, and they're not unreasonable,” he previously told Indian Country Today. “I am seeking to rebuild a nation where 'we the people' truly means all the people.”

Charles grew up in Gallup, New Mexico, a Navajo Nation border town. He is of Christian faith and is a former pastor. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is a speaker, activist and author.

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Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A'aniih is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is from the great state of Montana and currently reports for the Washington Bureau. For hot sports takes and too many Lakers tweets, follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email -

Graphic by freelance investigative data journalist and educator Daniel Lathrop (@lathropd).

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