Navajo Nation’s current vice president and a former president emerged as victors in Tuesday’s primary election.
Unofficial results report Vice President Jonathan Nez in first with 14,105 votes, over double that of the runner-up. Joe Shirley Jr., who served as tribal president from 2003 to 2011, came in second with 6,947 votes.
The Navajo Nation Board of Election Supervisors will certify results after a 10-day window to file grievances. The board purged over 52,000 registrations of those who did not engage in 2014 and 2016 elections, a move mandated by Navajo Nation law that stirred confusion among primary voters.
In a statement, Speaker LoRenzo Bates congratulated the presidential candidates and called for greater voter participation in November.
“All eligible voters are strongly encouraged to register to vote in the general election,” Bates said.
Incumbent President Russell Begaye ended up in fifth place out of the record-breaking 18 candidates running for Navajo Nation president in this year’s primary election.
Economic issues in Navajo Nation, where unemployment is roughly 50 percent, remain a focus for Nez and Shirley as they campaign for the presidency. Navajo Nation will host its general election on November 6, the same day as the United States general election.