Two newly- and narrowly- elected members joined the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council after winning a four-way runoff election December 14.
The special election followed the initial elections on November 2, when none of the highest vote getters were able to gain a majority of the votes for the two council seats as required by tribal election laws.
Alex S. Cloud, who served on the Council from 2008 to 2011, received 169 votes on 54.2 percent of ballots cast, followed by Howard D. Richards Sr. with 154 votes on 49.4 of ballots. Richards retained the seat he won in a special election last November after Jimmy R. Newton Jr. left the Council to run successfully for tribal chairman, according to the tribe’s official website.
Those who lost in the runoff election were Council newcomers Delbert D. Cuthair Jr., with 132 votes on 42.2 percent of ballots cast and Adam Red, who received 131 votes on 41.9 percent of ballots. Voters were asked to vote for two candidates on each ballot.
Of the 889 registered tribal voters, 312 cast ballots in the runoff election, noted Ace Stryker, editor of The Southern Ute Drum, who posted the runoff results on the tribe’s website.
“The race was tight after the Southern Ute Election Board finished tallying votes cast in person, according to the Drum’s unofficial count—Cloud led with 115, followed by Red with 110, then Cuthair with 108 and Richards in last with 97,” he said. Later, however, “the high proportion of absentee ballots—84, or more than a quarter of all ballots cast—turned the race in favor of Richards, who advanced ahead of all but Cloud.”
Cloud has been an employee in the tribe’s recreation division. Richards served as tribal chairman in 2003 and served seven times on the Council, according to the official website.