Bright spot seen for two defeated Native Congressional hopefuls


Denise Juneau on the campaign trail in Montana. Photo from Facebook

Election Day didn't turn out so well for two Native Congressional candidates but there could be an opportunity for both of them to make a comeback with Donald Trump headed to the White House.

Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Denise Juneau, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, came up short in North Dakota and Montana, respectively. But their Republican opponents were supporters of Trump and could be offered jobs in the new presidential administration, independent journalist Mark Trahant said on Thursday.

"Just watch what happens over the next few weeks," Trahant said on a post-election conference call hosted by the National Congress of American Indians. "If either of the candidates that defeated them ends up taking a job in the administration, they're ready to go."

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), who easily defeated Iron Eyes on Tuesday, is Trump's main energy adviser. He's made no secret of his willingness to join Trump's Cabinet.


NCAI on YouTube: Post Election Analysis Webinar

If he gives up the seat, federal law calls for an election to fill the vacancy. "No matter who they run in North Dakota, Chase would have voter name ID," said Trahant, the publisher of the Trahant Reports political blog.

Then there's Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana), who defeated Juneau on election day. He hasn't expressed any interest in working for the incoming presiden but his departure also would create another opportunity for voters to send the first Native woman to Congress.

Iron Eyes, for his part, already plans to run again in 2018. He's already preparing for a new era in the nation.

"There's a lot of work to do. We've got to brace for a Trump presidency," Iron Eyes wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

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