The Yurok Tribe
has new leadership.
Joe James was sworn into office as the tribe's new chairman
on October 20. He had secured 50 percent plus one of the vote during a primary on October 10.
Tribal citizens were less certain about the vice chair candidates. Sue Masten
, a former chair of the tribe, and Frankie Myers
both received the same number of votes -- 250 to be exact -- during the primary.
As a result, the two candidates were scheduled for a run-off. This time around, Myers emerged victorious with nearly 56 percent of the vote on Wednesday, according to unofficial results released by the election board
"Thank you so much to all my supporters and voters. We did it!" Myers said in a post on Facebook
early Thursday. Masten congratulated the winner
after the conclusion of the race.
James and Myers had joined forces during the campaign in hopes of creating a united front. Tribal citizens said it was the first time they remembered a chair and vice chair candidate openly running together.
As chair, James succeeds Thomas O’Rourke, who served three terms in the tribe's highest office. O’Rourke is retiring
Former Yurok chairman Thomas O’Rourke, left, poses with Joe James, the new chair of the tribe. Photo: Yurok Tribe
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was always our home': Yurok Tribe welcomes indigenous leaders to forest
(September 28, 2018)