Incumbency didn’t carry much weight in the latest Confederated Salish and Kootenai elections for Tribal Council.
The Missoulian reports that, unless there is a significant shift from 367 absentee and contested ballots that won’t be counted until Wednesday, four of five incumbents on the council have lost their seats.
They include CSKT Chairman Joe Durglo.
Only incumbent Carole DePoe Lankford of Ronan was returned for another four-year term.
Voters went to the polls Saturday, and appear to have elected newcomers Patty Stevens, Vernon Finley, Len Two Teeth and Shelly R. Fyant, along with Lankford.
The Missoulian said some tribal members have been unhappy that the current council voted to disperse a little over half, rather than all, of a $150 million settlement with the federal government to individual members in 2012.
The remainder was placed in an investment account.
Observers said they believed that was one reason 43 people filed to run for the five open council seats this year. One incumbent, Reuben Mathias, was ousted in last month’s crowded primary election after a tie forced him into a run-off.
With the 367 absentee and contested ballots in Saturday’s general election yet to be dealth with, incumbents Durglo, Jim Malatare and Steve Lozar all trail their challengers – Lozar by 126 votes, Durglo by 250 and Malatare by 494.
Lankford, meantime, is defeating her challenger 801-449.
- Vince Devlin