PABLO - With 367 absentee and contested primary ballots yet to be counted, incumbents on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council all have unofficial leads in the races to have their names placed on the Dec. 12 general election ballot.
The bigger question seems to be who they will face. Official results will not be available until Wednesday.
The top two vote-getters in each district advance to the general election.
The closest races are in the St. Ignatius, Arlee and Elmo districts.
In St. Ignatius, Patty Stevens and Ron Trahan have mounted the most serious challenge to an incumbent. Council member Joe Durglo has 420 votes to lead Stevens (334) and Trahan (313). Gary M. Stevens has 110 votes.
In Arlee, council member Jim Malatare holds a 366-208 lead over his nearest challenger, James "Bing" Matt. Bryan Brazill is next at 190, followed by Louise E. Stasso at 156, Trina Fyant Felsman at 151, Carl M. Dupuis with 79 and Francis L. Pierre with 25.
In Elmo, incumbent Reuben Mathias has 467 votes. William "Willie" Burke and Art Caye are in a tight race to see which of them will face off against Mathias. Burke leads Caye 290-248, and Lois Friedlander has 164.
Carole Depoe Lankford has a 590-330 lead over Gene Sorrell in the Ronan District, with none of five other challengers yet cracking the 100-vote total.
Incumbent Steve Lozar, who represents the Polson District, has the most primary votes by far. His 751 is outpacing Naida R. Lefthand (251) and Jimmy Ray O'Neill (172).
While council members represent distinct districts, all CSKT members vote for all five races.
Wednesday's final and official results will be posted at two Web sites, www.cskt.org and www.charkoosta.com.