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Most Red Lake Nation races lead to runoff elections

RED LAKE, Minn.—All but one of Red Lake Nation's 2018 races resulted in runoff elections Wednesday, May 16, after a majority of the 40 candidates failed to secure more than 50 percent of the vote at the polls.

Only incumbent Ponemah Representative Gary Nelson was able to reach the threshold for victory according to preliminary results, defeating Chele Kalstabakken 217 to 193.

The top vote-getters in the races for tribal chairman, tribal secretary, tribal treasurer, Redby representative, Red Lake representative, a four-year term as Little Rock representative and a two-year term as Little Rock representative will fight it out in subsequent elections that must occur before July 16.

Results will not be officially certified until later Thursday morning, but preliminary results obtained by the Pioneer show that former chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain came out ahead of incumbent Darrell Seki, Sr. with 45.64 percent of the vote. Seki received 39.99 percent, allowing both candidates to move on to the runoff election.

Jourdain served as chairman from 2004-2014 and was defeated by Seki four years ago. Both candidates announced their re-election bids in March.

Also moving on to runoff elections are:

• Secretary candidates Darwin Sumner (26.06 percent) and Sam Strong (22.46 percent).

• Treasurer candidates Annette Johnson (43.85 percent) and Chad Prentice (26.97 percent).

• Red Lake representative candidates Donald Good, Sr. (19.97 percent) and David Desjarlait (15.28 percent).

• Redby representative candidates Julius "Toady" Thunder (32.06 percent) and Thomas Westbrook (16.49 percent)

• Candidates for the four-year term as Little Rock representative Adrian Beaulieu (50.47 percent) and Robert Reynolds (26.09 percent).

• Candidates for the two-year term as Little Rock representative Michelle Cobenais (37.9 percent) and William Greene (26.43 percent).

Certified results had not been released as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796