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Incumbents lose in White Earth

It’s out with the old and in with the new, as White Earth voters elected new leadership in all three positions on the ballot.

Voters on the reservation strongly favored the challengers, overcoming the traditional incumbent advantage in off-reservation votes.

But incumbents didn’t go easily, as the general election proved to be an all-around close one this year.

The unofficial results from Tuesday night are as follows: Tara Mason of Callaway narrowly defeated incumbent Robert Durant of Mahnomen for secretary-treasurer with 908 votes (51 percent) to Durant’s 881 (49 percent).

Mason dominated in Naytahwaush, winning 224 votes to Durant’s 77 votes. In White Earth village, she won 113 votes to 94 votes.

Durant had 340 absentee ballots to 134 for Mason, but Mason picked up enough extra votes in precincts like Rice Lake, where she won 118 to 74, and Minneapolis, where she won 58 to 41, to squeak past the incumbent for the win. 

Steven “Punky” Clark of the Rice Lake area defeated longtime incumbent Irene Auginaush, also of the Rice Lake area, for District I Representative in another close race of 231 (53 percent) to Auginaush’s 205 (47 percent).

Although Auginaush carried the Rice Lake precinct 111 votes to 81 votes, Clark dominated in the smaller precincts, winning 42 to 11 in Pine Bend, 13 to 4 in Beaulieu, 10 to 1 in Bejou, and 10 to 2 in Cass Lake ‑- and he carried the absent vote, 60 to 56. Auginaush won the Minneapolis precinct 20 to 15.

Minneapolis native and Naytauwaush resident Kathy Goodwin defeated incumbent Terry Tibbetts of Naytauwaush for District II Representative, 372 (52 percent) to 348 (48 percent).

Goodwin won big in Naytahwaush, 194 to 112, carried Waubun 28 to 23, and won in Minneapolis 14 to 12.

Tibbetts won the absentee vote 105 to 62, dominated in Cass Lake 23 to 7 and won a close vote in Mahnomen 73 to 67.

The results are expected to be certified Wednesday afternoon.

This new leadership in White Earth will now be a part of the White Earth Tribal Council that will be helping the reservation transition into its new constitution heading into the future.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466