A total of 13 Osages filed for candidacy seeking Osage Nation Congressional office in the Nation’s June 6 General Election by the close of the legislative candidate filing period on March 7.
That number is two less than the 15 total candidates who filed and ran for Congressional office in the 2020, 2018 and 2016 general elections.
The Wahzhazhe Elections Board is scheduled to meet March 15 to consider certifying the Congressional candidates’ names to appear on the General Election ballot. All individuals who filed for candidacy are subject to background checks by the Attorney General’s Office for felonies on their records.
Incumbent Congress members Eli Potts and Alice Goodfox filed for candidacy seeking reelection on Feb. 1, which was Day 1 of the Congressional filing period. Potts is seeking his second term and Goodfox is seeking a fourth Congressional term.
On Feb. 8, incumbent Paula Stabler filed for candidacy making her the third to do so during the filing period. Stabler, who previously served two stints on the five-member Pawhuska Village Committee is seeking her second consecutive Congressional term.
Otto Hamilton was the fourth to file for candidacy on Feb. 9. A former ON Congressman, Hamilton served a four-year term after winning in the 2014 General Election. Hamilton also ran for Assistant Principal Chief in 2018 and has worked in two stints for the Nation’s planning and grants department.
The next day, incumbent Scott BigHorse was the fifth individual filing for candidacy to seek a second Congressional term. A former Oklahoma State House Representative, BigHorse also served as Assistant Principal Chief (2010-2014) and Chief, after John Red Eagle was removed from office in January of 2014. BigHorse won his first Congressional election in 2018.
On Feb. 11, Whitney Red Corn became the sixth individual to file for candidacy. This is Red Corn’s first time running for ON government office.
Liberty Metcalf became the seventh to file on Feb. 16. This is also Metcalf’s first time seeking ON Congressional office.
Incumbent Brandy Lemon was the eighth to file on March 4. Lemon is seeking a second consecutive Congressional term.
The final day of the filing period drew five more candidates, bringing this year’s total to 13 by the close of business.
Berbon Hamilton filed first that day and was the ninth to do so. Hamilton also ran in the 2012 General Election seeking a Congressional seat.
The next and 10th individual to file for candidacy was Jacque Jones on March 7. Jones also ran for Congress in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 general elections.
Ericca Unap-Dennis is the 11th individual to file for candidacy. This is the first time Dennis is running for Osage government office.
Amanda Proctor filed that afternoon as the 12th individual. Proctor has run for Congressional office in four election years and twice for Assistant Principal Chief in the 2010 and 2014 general elections.
Drew Tiger filed as the 13th and last Osage to submit candidate filing forms to the election office on March 7. This is Tiger’s first time running for Osage government office.
The 13 total candidates seeking Congressional office in 2022 is also a decrease from the candidate turnouts in the earlier elections under the reformed government.
In the inaugural reformed government election held in June 2006, a total of 36 Osages ran for 12 seats on the First ON Congress. To initiate staggering the Congressional terms, six seats were designated with four-year terms ending in 2010 and the remaining six seats were designated with six-year terms ending in 2012. For the 2006 election, 17 candidates ran for the six seats with six-year terms and 19 ran for the six seats with four-year terms.
The next significant Osage reformed election Congressional candidate turnout occurred in 2012 with 34 Osages running for six legislative office seats that year.
The six individuals elected on June 6 will serve with six other Congressional incumbents in the middle of their respective four-year terms. Inauguration Day will be held July 9 for those elected to take their oaths, which also includes the Principal Chief and Assistant Principal Chief office winners.
In-person Election Day voting will take place 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the ON Civic Center in Pawhuska at 1449 W. Main St. Early voting days will be held June 3 (noon to 7 p.m.) and June 4 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
For more information on the elections 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
[Editor’s Note: This article was corrected on March 8, 2022, to reflect a change in meeting date for the Wahzhazhe Elections board to certify candidates from March 11 to March 15.]