Run-off election to be held on Comanche Nation

S.E. Ruckman, Today correspondent
6/5/09

LAWTON, Okla. – More than 1,500 Comanche Nation tribal voters have prompted a run-off election for four positions after candidates in the May 16 primary election failed to gain 51 percent of the vote.

A June 13 run-off election is slated in the 14,000-member tribe, tribal election board officials said. The Comanche Nation Election Board certified the votes May 20 after no protest was filed. In the chairman race, Michael Burgess garnered 756 votes; Johnny Waqua received 561 votes and Ron Red Elk drew 534 votes.

Meanwhile, Richard “Bunky” Henson received 785 votes for vice chairman with Eleanor McDaniel getting 423 votes among four candidates. Run-off elections are slated for the chairman and vice chairman positions between Burgess and Wauqua and McDaniel and Henson for vice chairman as well as committee seats, officials said.

Voters elected Robert Tippiconnie as secretary/treasurer. Two members of the tribe’s business committee are also undecided with Jenice Bigbee and Darrell Kosechequetah vying for one slot and Clyde Narcomey and Willie Nelson for the other committee position.

Tribal voters in the six districts narrowly rejected a move to fund Comanche Nation outreach centers for out-of-jurisdiction citizens in Albuquerque, N.M. and Dallas, Texas.

Also approved was a proposed $42 million budget that includes tribal subsidies for a nursing home fund, child support services and elder programs. The tribe approved $1.8 million for the Comanche Nation College, $2 million for higher education and $3.1 million in land acquisitions.

The budget reflects $40 million projected gaming revenues from four Comanche casino sites in southwest Oklahoma, tribal officials said. The approved tribal budget reflects a $4 million shortfall from the 2009 budget.

The June 13 run-off will mean new leadership for the Comanches as current chairman Wallace Coffey steps down after two terms.

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