Crunching the numbers pays off for Shirley

Crunching the numbers pays off for Shirley

“Eight more years!” was the chant to which a loud and triumphant cadre of Joe Shirley Jr. supporters stormed the Window Rock Sports Center Tuesday night, declaring victory in the Navajo Nation presidential primary election with just a handful of chapters left to report.

They were defying those who had grumbled that Shirley’s previous two terms, 2004-2011, should have been enough and Shirley should step aside and let a younger person take the helm.

And if enough of the 15 ousted candidates’ supporters line up behind the man who will face Shirley in the general election, he may have to do just that.

Christopher Clark Deschene, the 43-year-old attorney and engineer who nabbed a good share of the youth vote, was hot on the veteran politician’s tail with 9,734 votes to Shirley’s 10,910 — a difference of just two percent of the total.

PHOTO ABOVE: Navajo Nation Presidential candidates Joe Shirley Jr.makes his way into the Window Rock Sports Center as supporters cheer him on. (Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at