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Pembroke Mayor Will Lead New Lumbee Tribal Government

PEMBROKE, NC -- Pembroke Mayor Milton Hunt became the tribal chairman and 23 district representatives were elected out of a field of 74 candidates in the new Lumbee tribal government election held Nov. 7.

Hunt defeated Jerry McNeill, the chairman of the Tribal Council of the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians, by 467 votes. The vote was 3,398 for Hunt, 2,931 for McNeill, 1,188 for Earney Hammonds, 1,278 for Christine Locklear, and 887 for Harold "Iron Bear" Collins, according to unofficial election returns.

The new government will oversee the tribe’s interests and will manage millions of dollars in state and federal aid for programs.

The government will consist of a tribal chairman, or chief, and 23 representatives from 18 districts. Those elected to the government will serve a three-year term.

The Lumbee Regional Development Association, a private nonprofit corporation, served as the tribe’s interim government since 1986. The election was intended to end a seven-year dispute over which faction -- LRDA or the Tribal Council of the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians -- would govern the tribe of more than 45,000 members.

Representatives elected Tuesday were: Patricia C. Hunt, District 1; Larmani L. Mitchell, District 2; Jimmy Hunt and Dobbs Oxendine; District 3; James E. Goins and Earl Cummings, District 4; Henry Clay Chavis and Steve Locklear, District 5; Reginald Oxendine, District 6; Delton Oxendine and Randall Jones; District 7; Danita Ann Locklear, District 8; Linda O. Hammonds, District 9; Craig D. McMillian, District 10; Mike McNeill, District 11; Walter Martin Lowery, District 12; James A. Hardin and Traci Locklear Guerra, District 13; Darlene Jacobs, District 14; William Lonnie Revels; District 15; Rosa Revels Winfree, District 16; Roderick G. Locklear, District 17; and Daucey F. Brewington, District 18.

Election officials finished tallying votes around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday (Nov 8). Any challenges from candidates must be filed within 24 hours of the announcement of the official election results, said R.D. Locklear, the executive director of the the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission. The commission amended a rule that protests must be made within 24 hours of the close of the polls.

The elections board is required to make a decision within 48 hours after receiving a complaint. The candidate can appeal to the full commission. “No one has officially challenged any of the races,” Locklear said. “Because of the closeness of some races, some challenges are expected. But our election has come off a lot better than in Florida.”

After the elections board certifies the results, they will be sent to Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. in Raleigh. Manning is expected to certify the election in December, and the new government will be installed within 30 days.

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