From left: Congressman RJ Walker, Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear on Dec. 7, 2021. CODY HAMMER/Osage News
On Day One of the filing period for Osages seeking Osage Nation Executive Branch offices in the 2022 election, a total of three Osages filed for candidacy.
The candidacy filing period for those running for Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief offices is open through Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, according to the Wahzhazhe Elections Office in Pawhuska where prospective candidates must file in person. Those seeking Executive Branch office must be enrolled Osages, at least 35 years old on Election Day and have never been convicted of a felony, according to the 2006 Osage Constitution.
Additionally, at the time of filing, prospective candidates must show proof of having a separate bank account in the candidate’s name or the candidate’s campaign. Candidates must also pay filing fees to the Election Office with the fee for Principal Chief candidates set at $500 and Assistant Principal Chief candidates $400.
On Dec. 7, Congressman RJ Walker, 49, filed first seeking Assistant Principal Chief office shortly after 11 a.m. He is serving his third Congressional term after winning the 2012, 2016 and 2020 elections.
During the noon lunch hour, Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt, 46, filed for candidacy seeking Principal Chief office. She is in her second Congressional term after winning the 2014 and 2018 elections.
At 1:45 p.m., Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, 68, filed for candidacy seeking re-election. Standing Bear is seeking his third term after winning the Principal Chief’s office in the 2014 and 2018 elections. He served as an ON Congressman from 2010 to 2014 and served as Assistant Principal Chief under the old tribal council form of government from 1990-1994.
The Executive Branch candidates, as well as Congressional candidates who will file in February 2022, will be subject to background checks for felonies on their records before they are certified by the Election Board to appear on the ballot.
A primary election is tentatively scheduled April 4 for the Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief candidates, but “If two or fewer candidates for Principal Chief or Assistant Principal Chief file by the filing deadline, those candidates shall advance to the general election,” according to the election code, meaning no primary election would be held. The two Executive Branch candidates with the highest vote counts will win those two respective office seats. For next year, the general election will be held June 6.
For more information on the elections, filing for candidacy, or to register or update addresses for voting, and to request absentee ballots, contact the Election Office toll-free at (877) 560-5286 or visit its website at www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/elections