Kevin Stitt for Governor: Sunrise

A Republican Native American is running for governor in 2018

A citizen of the Cherokee Nation is hoping to become Oklahoma's first Native American governor but The New York Times doesn't seem to know about him.

Kevin Stitt, a business executive, secured the Republican nomination for governor after winning a run-off on August 28. His campaign got a further boost when President Donald Trump endorsed him two days later.

"Kevin Stitt ran a great winning campaign against a very tough opponent in Oklahoma," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter on August 30. "Kevin is a very successful businessman who will be a fantastic Governor."

Despite the high-profile nature of the campaign, The Times omits Stiff from a story about Native American, African American and Hispanic candidates in the Republican party. Indianz.Com has asked the paper for comment about the oversight.

The story noted that Democrats have nominated a Native candidate for governor in Idaho but does not name her. That would be Paulette Jordan, a citizen of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and a former state lawmaker who is hoping to become the first Native American and first Native woman to serve in the state's highest elected office.

The Times further notes that Democrats are running a Native candidate as lieutenant governor in Minnesota but doesn't name her either. That's Peggy Flanagan, who is a citizen of the White Earth Nation and is on the ticket with Tim Walz.

Republicans also have a Native woman on their gubernatorial ticket. That would be Donna Bergstrom, a citizen of the Red Lake Nation who's the running mate of Jeff Johnson.

Elsewhere, Byron Mallott, who is Tlingit, is running for re-election as lieutenant governor in Alaska. He has once again partnered with Bill Walker, the incumbent who is running as an independent.

As for Stitt, his Democratic opponent is Drew Edmondson, a former attorney general of the state. Sooner Poll shows the race in a statistical dead heat.

“Both candidates are very defined in the minds of voters,” states Bill Shapard, the founder of “Stitt has benefited greatly from having appeared on the statewide Republican ballot twice this year, and Edmondson’s name recognition is high due to his many years in public life and those of his relatives.”

Oklahoma, which is home to 39 federally recognized tribes, has never had a Native governor. But Steve Burrage, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, served as State Auditor and Inspector, a statewide elective office, between 2008 and 2011.

Native Americans also have served in the Oklahoma Legislature and in various gubernatorial administrations. And the state boasts the only two tribal citizens in the U.S. Congress -- Rep. Tom Cole (R), who is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R), who hails from the Cherokee Nation.

SoonerPoll has Cole with a commanding 33-percent lead in his campaign for the 4th Congressional District. Mullin is enjoying the strongest support in a four-candidate race in the 2nd Congressional District, SoonerPoll reported.

Mullin's Democratic rival in the race is Jason Nichols, also Cherokee, marking the first time two tribal citizens have appeared on a general election ballot in the same race in Oklahoma. Nichols is running second in the SoonerPoll, which saw a significant percentage of undecideds.

Overall, Native Americans represent 9.2 percent of Oklahoma's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state ranks second, behind California, in terms of the largest Native populations

Read More on the Story
Missing in the G.O.P.: Black and Hispanic Nominees for Governor (The New York Times October 3, 2018)

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