PABLO – Four of five incumbents are seeking re-election to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council this year, according to the list of candidates the tribes released.
Only Terry Pitts, who represents the Dixon District, did not file to run again.
A total of 26 tribal members are chasing the five seats that are up on the 10-person council. That’s not nearly as crowded as the 2013 field, when 43 candidates ran for the other five seats and voters eventually turned four of five incumbents out of office.
The primary election is Saturday, Oct. 17, when the field will be narrowed to the top two candidates in each district.
The general election is Saturday, Dec. 12.
With Pitts stepping down, the Dixon District will next be represented by either Anita Matt, Michael Matt, Alfred McLeod Jr. or James Morigeau.
Pablo District representative Lloyd Irvine faces the largest number of challengers next month.
The eight candidates there also include Martin Charlo, Dennis Clairmont, Francine Dupuis, Agnes “Aggie” Incashola, Jesse Nenemay, Britton Salois and Nicholas White.
In St. Ignatius, incumbent Ron Trahan, who served as CSKT chairman in 2014, faces Wade Hendrickson, Tim Jeffries, Charles Morigeau and Jordan Stasso.
Six tribal members filed in the Arlee District: incumbent James “Bing” Matt, Myrna Adams Dumontier, Troy Felsman, Shelley Hendrickson, Jim Malatare and David Sanchez.
Hot Springs had the fewest filings: incumbent Leonard Gray and challengers Gene Lozeau and Linda Lee Oliver-Landrum.
While council members represent specific districts, eligible voters from across the Flathead Indian Reservation can cast ballots in all the races.
Polling places for the Oct. 17 primary are the Arlee Head Start Building, the Dixon Senior Citizen Center, the Hot Springs Indian Senior Citizen Center, the CSKT Tribal Complex in Pablo, the St. Ignatius Indian Senior Citizen Center, the Ronan Indian Senior Citizen Center, the Polson Indian Senior Citizen Center and the Elmo Community Center.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that Saturday.
Winners will take their oaths of office in January. They’ll join current chairman Vernon Finley of Polson, vice chairman Carole Lankford of Ronan, Leonard Twoteeth of Elmo, Patty Stevens of St. Ignatius and Shelly Fyant of Arlee on the council.
Those five face re-election in 2017.