Arviso out, Navajos still dominate Apache County races

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi' Bureau

CHINLE, August 30, 2012

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A n accounting snafu may have cost Apache County Treasurer Katherine Arviso the Democratic nomination Tuesday night but she made a respectable showing in the polls, and the Democratic candidate in November's election will still be a Navajo.

Marleita Begay of Nazlini, Ariz. received 56 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary to Arviso's 43 percent.

Neither candidate returned a phone call Wednesday.

Begay will face Richard Brower, one of only two Republicans running for Apache County office. The other is Barry Weller, running for county supervisor in District 3.

In a previous interview, Arviso accused County Supervisor John Lee, the only Anglo on the board of supervisors, of trumping up the allegations against her in order to tip the election toward Brower, Lee's brother-in-law.

According to a state audit, Arviso had neglected to apportion $6.5 million in investment losses among the various county-funded entities, resulting in inflated budgets. She was suspended for 120 days ending Aug. 18.

She was not in her office Wednesday.

In other Apache County races, incumbent Assessor Rodger Dahozy, Recorder Lenora Fulton and Sheriff Joseph Dedman Jr. — all Diné — kept the Democratic nominations, running unopposed.

Dedman will face independent Jeff Christ, who describes himself as a "Constitutional conservative."

Incumbent Superintendent of Schools Pauline Begay didn't run, paving a clear way for Robert Williams to take that nomination.

Several fellow Navajos gave incumbent Supervisor Tom White a run for his money in District 2. White kept the nomination with a third of the vote, but Navajo Nation Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd (Cornfields/Ganado/Jeddito/Kin Dah Lichii/Steamboat) was a close second with just over 30 percent, followed by Wheatfields Chapter President Zane James with 22 percent and Harry Gorman Jr. with 14 percent.

Lee will be the Democratic candidate in District 3, but just barely — his challenger, Raymond R. Smith had 48 percent of the vote to Lee's 51.

Incumbent Michael Whiting was the lone candidate for county attorney.

Arizona State Sen. Jack C. Jackson Jr. ran unopposed, and State Rep. Albert Hale bested challenger and fellow Diné Jamescita Peshlakai.

Voter turnout in Apache County was around 23 percent.

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