Navajo presidential race features crowded field

Posted at: 08/23/2014 11:37 AM
Updated at: 08/23/2014 11:41 AM
By: Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Seventeen candidates are running for president of the Navajo Nation, a post that wields important influence on the nation's largest American Indian reservation.

The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary election will advance to the general election in November. More than 114,000 Navajos are registered to vote.

The race features a mix of seasoned politicians, a woman, political newcomers and the sitting president. Their platforms include securing water rights, enticing business to the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, and promoting tribal culture and tradition.

The president earns $55,000 a year and represents the tribe to outside agencies.

While the president is the tribe's top elected official, the job is seen as less powerful than Navajo Nation Council.

The primary also includes races for the Tribal Council.