NESPELEM Colville Business Council Chairman Michael O. Finley is sitting in third place in the Inchelium District primary election after the initial vote tally Monday.
Primary leader Marvin Joseph Kheel has 61 votes and second-place candidate Yvonne Swan has 52. Finley has 45 in poll voting.
The results of absentee voting will be added Thursday for the final vote count, with only the Top 2 candidates advancing to the June general election.
Swan, 70, said she’s hoping to stay among the Top 2 after absentee votes are counted. She said a lot of people she knows are voting absentee.
She has been in the forefront of an effort by tribal members to force the council to turn over all of the tribe’s $193 million federal trust settlement to individual members.
Swan said she has more experience than Kheel in working on behalf of people on human rights and other issues, and, in reference to the settlement, isn’t a single-issue candidate.
Kheel, an enforcement officer with the tribe’s Natural Resources Department, was away from home and unavailable for comment.
Challengers are leading in two of three primary races with incumbents seeking re-election to positions on the council.
In tribal elections, results can change wildly between poll votes and final tallies.
The two candidates garnering the most total votes for each position will move on to the June 14 general election.
Besides Finley, Kheel and Swan, other candidates for Finley’s Inchelium District post are Marlin R. Simpson, with 30, and Pat Laramie-Brooks, with 15.
In the Nespelem District, position No. 1 incumbent William “Billy” Nicholson II, with 127 votes, leads a three-candidate field.
Amelia (Moses) Marchand is second, with 98, and Shawnee N. BearCub is third, with 49.
The other Nespelem District incumbent, Nancy Cawston Johnson, is in second place in poll results with 77 votes. The leader for position No. 2 is Harvey Moses Jr., with 81.
Rounding out the candidates for the position are Brian J. Nissen, with 65, and Charlene BearCub, with 53.
The two Omak positions up for election this year have no incumbents. John Sirois and Lynn Holder decided not to run.
For position No. 1, Edwin L. Marchand leads in poll voting, with 103. John E. Gorr is in second place, with 55. James A. McCuen has 52, Kate Sanchez has 36 and Shirley K. Charley has 33.
Michael E. Marchand leads in the race for position No. 2, with 110 votes. Poll vote results for the remainder of the field include Duane E. Hall Sr., 78, Darlene “Dar” Burke, 52, Stuart J. Sellars, 29, and Launa L. Squetimkin, 10.
Inchelium District position No. 1 and Keller District position No. 1 attracted two candidates apiece and did not have primaries.