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Navajo VP, ex-president top finishers in primary

Posted at 5:37 AM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 08:37:14-04

Voters on the country's largest American Indian reservation have advanced two seasoned politicians vying for the presidency to the general election.

Current Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez and former tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. are the top two finishers in Tuesday's primary election. They will face off in the November general election.
Unofficial results from all precincts show Nez led the field of 18 presidential hopefuls with more than 14,100 votes. Shirley followed with about half the number of votes. Tribal lawmaker Tom Chee came in third.
Both Nez and Shirley say they want to improve the economy on the vast reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.
Nez has made health and the well-being of Navajos a focus of his campaign. Shirley says he'll rely on teamwork to combat poverty and other issues.
8:10 p.m.
The Navajo Nation's vice president is maintaining a hefty lead in the race for the tribal presidency.
With more than half of the precincts reporting in Tuesday's primary election, Jonathan Nez led the field of 18 presidential hopefuls. Former tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. has been in second place throughout much of the evening, followed by tribal lawmaker Tom Chee.
The top two finishers advance to November's general election.
More than 93,000 Navajos had registered to vote in the primary. They chose from a record number of presidential candidates, including current President Russell Begaye.
Tribal election officials are tabulating the results at a sports arena in the tribal capital of Window Rock.
Shirley had sought a third term as president four years ago but lost to the Begaye-Nez ticket by about 10,000 votes.