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Erma Vizenor

Vizenor re-elected tribal chairwoman in White Earth

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White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor and District 3 Tribal Council Representative Kenneth "Gus" Bevins have both been re-elected to four years terms.

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Both won their primary election by more than 50 percent on Tuesday, which under tribal election rules means they are re-elected and there will be no general election this year.

"Now I can go to St. Paul and get that casino built," Vizenor said with a smile immediately after her victory. She is holding a press conference at the Capitol Thursday morning to push the Tribal Council's plan for a metro casino.

Vizenor won 55.4 percent of the overall vote and Bevins won 56 percent of the District 3 vote.

In the race for tribal chairperson, Kenneth M. Coleman came in second with just under 37 percent of the vote.

Coleman was actually slightly ahead after the reservation votes were counted, but he was swept away by a landslide of absentee ballots for Vizenor.

"It's great to have that support on the reservation, to know I am the preferred candidate on the reservation," Coleman said.

"Absentee voters are readers -- they read the tribal newspaper, they care about good government," Vizenor said. "My supporters on the reservation do too."

The other three candidates (Char Lee-Ovaldson, Karen M. Manypenny and Sally Littlewolf) each received less than 5 percent of the vote.

In the District 3 race, Tara R. Mason came in second with nearly 24 percent of the vote.

Four other candidates -- Martha Williams, Mike T. Smith, Mike "Stink" Bevins and Paul Soyring -- split the remaining 25 percent of the vote.

Bevins said the secret of his success is just "doing my job and treating everybody fair -- as far as the community, everybody gets a piece of the pie -- that goes a long ways."

Mason said she will definitely throw her hat in the ring again in four years.

"I'm happy there was such a large turnout, and hopefully there's a new way we can move forward within our district 3."

In the chairperson's race, Vizenor dominated in Pine Point and Callaway, and won Rice Lake and Ogema.

Coleman owned Naytahwaush and Mahnomen and won White Earth village.

Vizenor dominated precincts in Minneapolis and Cass Lake, and received five times the number of absentee votes as Coleman.

In the District 3 race, Bevins won every precinct and received nearly seven times as many absentee votes as Mason.

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