Voters pick Nez, Nygren for Navajo Nation president
Navajo Nation voters have spoken and Buu Nygren will challenge incumbent Jonathan Nez for the tribal presidency on Nov. 8.
Unofficial results from the Navajo Nation primary election show Nez with 17,073 votes and Nygren in second with 12,878.
Both candidates expressed thanks to their supporters in the primary election.
“We appreciate the loyal Nez base, which came out today,” Nez said on Tuesday night. “The dedicated 14,000 people who voted last primary election stepped up and made sure that they cast their vote for the continuation of our administration.”
Nygren said he visited 20 chapters on Tuesday and spent 13 hours on the reservation roads visiting voters.
“We ran a campaign that really shook things up,” Nygren said to his supporters. “I am very, very thankful for all of your hard work all the way up to this point.
“Four months ago, we made an announcement to run for Navajo Nation president,” he said. “With your help, your support, it’s been wonderful these past four months.”
Nez led throughout the night as election returns came in, followed by Nygren.
Unofficial results showed other candidates including Justin Jones in third place with 8,769 votes and Ethel Branch, who received 3,857, in fourth place.
Now his team has to get back to work, said Nez.
“We gotta move the Nation forward that will continue, always,” Nez said. “So, tomorrow we got a bunch of meetings, and we’re gonna have to sit back down with the team.”
Nygren, who held a rally at the fairgrounds in Window Rock, said on Tuesday night his victory in the primary reiterates that the voters who voted for him are eager for new leadership.
“We need new leadership to really get things done to effectively work with Council and to effectively make the Navajo Nation government more efficient,” he said, “more effective at the Window Rock level and at the local level.
“That’s the same message that I’ve heard over and over,” he said, “and that’s what we’re going to continue doing.”
According to the Navajo Election Administration, 47,495 voters cast votes on Tuesday. Of those unofficial vote totals, 17,544 did not vote for Nygren or Nez.
Nygren said the candidates in this election were “highly educated, highly qualified people” who ran an “amazing and inspirational race.”
“They’ve all greeted me and welcomed me as I’ve visited their booths, their canopies,” he said. “I shook their hands. All 13 of us are on the same page as we need new leadership now.”
Nez said all the candidates “did an outstanding job.”
“At the debates, in the forums, we wish them well,” he said. “Many of them are our friends as well.”