Deschene not running for prez

DURANGO, Colo.

Christopher Clark Deschene, the second-highest vote-getter in the 2014 primary election for Navajo Nation president, announced today he will not be running in 2018.

“With a heavy heart, I must respectfully step aside to allow others an opportunity to plan, organize and file for this 2018 election,” Deschene wrote in a statement shared with the Times.

Chris Deschene, who was disqualified by the Office of Hearings and Appeals, waits for arguments to be heard by the Navajo Supreme Court on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, at the Navajo Department of Transportation in Tse Bonito, N.M. Despite being disqualified Deschene said voters shouldn’t stop voting. (Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

Whether that is the last word, however, remained mysterious, as Deschene’s supporters also invited local reporters to a press teleconference with Deschene Monday afternoon.

Deschene, who was disqualified from the final 2014 election after he refused to take a test to prove he was fluent in the Navajo language, had been debating whether to run this year, he told supporters at events last month organized by the Navajo Voters’ Coalition.

In his statement, Deschene cited family matters as his reason for staying out of the race.

“For the time being, I need to remain close to my loved ones and support their progression and futures,” he stated, adding, “To the people of the Nation, the happiness and identity of each of us is NOT contingent on one person. We have always been a diverse Nation where our clans and our families have helped us survive and success regardless of the odds.”

Deschene also said he is not abandoning his tribe.

“Fear not, I intend to return and serve our Nation in many capacities,” he wrote. “Whether as an elected tribal, state or federal leader, or as an individual citizen in my private capacity, I know that I will always be there to help you all. Thank you for your support.”


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Categories: Politics

About 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 cyurth@navajotimes.com.