Denson Declared Unofficial Winner in Chief Race

By: Chris Brennaman Email
By: Chris Brennaman Email

When the first community reported their results about 20 minutes after the polls closed, there was a good indication that this would be yet another close race. 37 Crystal Ridge voters favored Beasley Denson, while 35 voted for Chief Phillip Martin. And nearly three hours later, when all the votes were in, Denson held a 164 vote lead.

"For us to be leading, I feel pretty good," Denson said. "But we have some unaccounted ballots, which are absentee ballots. That concerns me, but we have to wait until tomorrow to see what happens."

Those ballots will be counted at one o'clock this afternoon. Tribal Election Committee Chairman Nellie Steve said nearly 500 absentee ballots were requested, but did not have an exact figure for those that were returned.

"We still have a good chance through the absentee ballots, which will be counted tomorrow," Chief Martin said. "I don't know how many absentee ballots are out there, but people are saying around 400. So, that could take up the deficit that I have now."

And Chief Martin -- a seven-time incumbent -- has reason be positive about the absentee ballots. During the first election, he received the most votes from those type of ballots. In the other camp, Denson is concerned about the integrity of the absentee votes, saying that he and his supporters will keep a close eye on the counting of those votes.

"They should have made sure that certain things are practiced to make sure that the ballots are pure and near perfect," Denson added.

If Denson is declared the winner when the official numbers are added up later this afternoon, he will be sworn in on July 10 -- which happens to be the day before the 58th annual Choctaw Indian Fair begins. He says that he will do everything he can to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

Vote Totals
With all of the eight communities reporting, Beasley Denson has a 1,528 to 1,364 lead over incumbent Phillip Martin.

Bogue Chitto
Martin - 124
Denson - 276

Bogue Homa
Martin - 72
Denson - 44

Martin - 226
Denson - 203

Crystal Ridge
Martin - 35
Denson - 37

Pearl River
Martin - 436
Denson - 562

Red Water
Martin - 157
Denson - 137

Standing Pine
Martin - 142
Denson - 124

Martin - 172
Denson - 145

At 11:05 p.m., Tribal Election Committee Chairman Nellie Steve declared Beasley Denson the unofficial winner. Absentee ballots have not yet been counted. Those votes will be tallied Wednesday at 1:00 p.m, followed by a complete recount.

Steve says about 490 absentee ballots were requested, while she did not know exactly how many were returned.

Official results should be available late Wednesday afternoon. The winner will be sworn in on July 10.

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  • by ndngirl Location: native land on Jul 9, 2007 at 01:39 PM
    Congrat!!to the new chief- Beasley Denson- it took alot of sacrifice but we knew we could do it!!!!
  • by Chahta Family Location: Tucker on Jul 8, 2007 at 06:09 PM
    We needed a change and the change is finally here, Now the chata people need to start going to work and stop calling in and running to the tribal council and the chief. Too many people relied on Phillip Martin for their livelyhood now it is time for them to take their life more seriously and finally realize how it feels to work hard and actually earn your money for a change.
  • by Got Change? Location: Bogue Chitto on Jul 7, 2007 at 02:07 PM
    The CHANGE has happened....different name.
  • by Me first Location: Choctaw on Jul 7, 2007 at 01:59 PM
    Chata(has to get up and go to work)First. The gravy train will fill up fast. Be sure to reserve you seat. We are now taking applications for CEO of the resort. All qualified Choctaws please step forward.?????
  • by melody Location: Standing Pine on Jul 6, 2007 at 05:12 AM
    chata first for a change!the tribe has spoken.all the hard work by the many volunteers has proven that you can overcome any obstacle, if you just believe! beasley denson will prove to all there is a brighter future. chata first!!
  • by Betsie Location: Philadelphia on Jul 5, 2007 at 06:15 PM
    I feel this change in leadership will take a toll on the economy within the local areaa and state! Promises voiced by Denson during his campaign leave most associates and some tribal members questioning the validity of follow-thru. No mentoring has been performed to make Denson's leadership strong initially. The Tribe and its entities are going to suffer!!!!
  • by Diannah Location: Philadelphia on Jul 5, 2007 at 07:48 AM
    Change is hard, but, as another candidate mentioned earlier, Change is the Law of Life (a quote from John F. Kennedy). Therefore, the change on the Tribal reservation needed to happen NOW. People tend to make outrageous remarks about Beasley Denson, however, Mr. Denson will do an outstanding job. Of course, changes will be made and not every one is going to be pleased with it, especially those who are receiving exorbitantly extravagant salaries and benefits from the tribal government. We have visited all of the homes on the tribal reservation and witnessed how bad they need help. It was only after the Martin campaign found out that the Denson campaign was making house to house walk throughs in each community and they followed suit. Kind of makes it seem childish of following what someone else has led a path never explored before and that's what the Martin campaign did. Personally, it is a great day for the tribal members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. It will take time, however, tribal members will see and learn within the next year or two what we have striven for to improve the 8 Choctaw Communities by the Denson campaign.
  • by Anonymous Location: Philadelphia on Jul 5, 2007 at 01:04 AM
    I think that It is about time that the choctaw people is in for a change. Chief Phillip Martin did do an excellent job with his tribe but, It is also time to let a younger choctaw to run the tribe
  • by james Location: philadelphia on Jul 4, 2007 at 09:51 PM
    the chief was too old to take the tribe much further. he did a fine job but the chocatws probably made a good choice with Beasley Denson
  • by Beverly Location: Pinetop on Jul 4, 2007 at 08:56 PM
    Hail to the Chief Denson!
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