White Earth Tribal Chairman Michael Fairbanks won more than 57% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election, earning him a four-year term in office without the need to compete in the Aug. 18 general election.
He received 967 votes to defeat five other candidates, including Kenneth R. Fox Jr., who came in second with 23%, or 392 votes, according to unofficial results announced Tuesday, June 9. Martha Williams came in third with over 9%, or 155 votes; Pamela Aspinwall was fourth with over 4%, or 70 votes; Patricia Moran received about 3%, or 50 votes, and Joshua Kent received just under 3%, or 47 votes.
District 3 Committeeman Eugene "Umsy" Tibbetts came in first out of 11 candidates, but didn’t win more than 50% of the vote, so will still need to compete in the general election to keep his seat on the Tribal Council.
Tibbetts received 36%, or 302 votes. He will be on the general election ballot facing second-place winner Cheryl “Annie” Jackson, who received just shy of 15%, or 124 votes.
Jackson advanced by edging out third-place finisher Mary Otto, who received nearly 14%, or 113 votes. Laurie York was fourth with about 13%, or 107 votes. None of the other District 3 candidates broke into double digits as a percentage of the total vote.
Fairbanks did well across reservation precincts, with lopsided wins in White Earth Village, Pine Point, Callaway and Rice Lake. Fox beat him by narrow margins in Naytahwaush and Mahnomen. Fairbanks also dominated in absentee ballots, absentee ballots cast in person, and off-reservation precincts in Cass Lake and Minneapolis.
Tibbetts did well in White Earth, Pine Point, and a number of other precincts, and dominated in absentee ballots, absentee ballots cast in person, and off-reservation precincts in Cass Lake and Minneapolis.
Jackson received more than half her votes in White Earth Village, where she narrowly lost to Tibbets, while Otto won in Callaway and picked up votes across several other reservation precincts.
The election results are expected to be officially certified today, June 10.