PABLO — It’s all over but the swearing in. Comfortable vote margins for four of the contested seats and one by a razor thin margin decided the composition of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes governing body for the next two years. The 30 percent of eligible CSKT voters that cast ballots resulted in one incumbent retaining their district seat, a former district representative back in the saddle again, and three first-time Tribal Council members.
• Incumbent Anita Matt of the Dixon District retained her seat against challenger and former District Representative Terry Pitts with the vote count 652 to 528 in her favor.
• Former Tribal Council member James ‘Bing’ Matt reclaimed the Arlee District seat from incumbent Myrna L. Adams Dumontier. She had replaced former council member Troy Felsman who resigned his seat last year. Matt received 671 votes to Dumontier’s 508.
• In the Hot Springs District open seat, former Salish Kootenai College instructor Michael Dolson gained 651 votes to Gene Lozeau’s 525. Council member Leonard Gray didn’t seek reelection.
• In the St. Ignatius District, LeEllen ‘Ellie’ Bundy-McLeod with 640 votes topped challenger Willie Stevens’ 545 votes. Both were vying for the open seat left by Chairman Ronald Trahan who didn’t seek reelection.
• The race to watch, however, was the Pablo District. Saturday night’s unofficial election results showed incumbent Dennis Clairmont and challenger Martin Charlo neck-and-neck with 436 to 437 vote count in Charlo’s favor. After the official count and recount on Wednesday, December 18, the final tally resulted in Charlo squeaking a win by one vote again, with 591 votes to Clairmont’s 590.
The five winners will be sworn in for four-year teams at the Winter Quarterly meeting Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.