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Tex Hall out of Three Affiliated Tribes chairman race

NEW TOWN -- The Three Affiliated Tribes will have a new leader. Chairman Tex Hall, now in a historic third term since his re-election in 2010, came in fourth in Tuesday's primary election, grabbing approximately 14.6 percent of the vote, accordin...

NEW TOWN - The Three Affiliated Tribes will have a new leader.
Chairman Tex Hall, now in a historic third term since his re-election in 2010, came in fourth in Tuesday’s primary election, grabbing approximately 14.6 percent of the vote, according to the Tribal Election Board numbers.
Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation tribal attorney Mark Fox, who was one of six to challenge Hall, was the frontrunner with 29.4 percent of the vote. He will face tax director Damon Williams, who received 25.9 percent of the vote, in the Nov. 4 general election. Preliminary counts show a total of 2,476 votes cast for chairman.
“I’m pretty happy with the results,” first-time candidate Williams said Wednesday. “I think there was a clear message sent that the enrolled membership of the Three Affiliated Tribes really wanted a change.”
The election came just a day after protesters demonstrated at the Three Affiliated Tribes Administrative Building in New Town to demand the release of an investigation of Hall’s business activities. Tribal council members distributed more than 360 pages of court documents that allege Hall used his office to demand $1.2 million from oil and gas company Spotted Hawk Development before he would sign its development plan. The documents also claim he used his title to secure more than $580,000 in payments for a water-hauling company to James Henrikson, who is charged with murder for hire in the deaths of two North Dakota men.
Hall said in a statement earlier this week that he never received any money in the cases, adding the report was a “smear campaign” aimed at the primary election.
Multiple calls to Hall were not returned.
Williams said that with increased money coming to the tribe as a result of the oil boom - roughly $1 billion over the past six years, he estimated, with a $533 million budget in the last fiscal year - it’s time to move on from the “survival mode” of the past.
“Now we can be proactive, and look for investing and saving for the future,” he said. “When this oil is gone, we have protected revenue streams and protected programs long after this council and the next council and the following comes into being.”
With six weeks to go until the general election, Williams said his time outside of the office will be spent campaigning, including possible debates across the state against opponent Fox.
Like Williams, Fox said he sees Tuesday’s results as a sign that voters “want things done differently. They are very concerned about how things are managed.”
The biggest issue, he said, will be government reform. The former tribal vice chairman and treasurer, who served from 1994 to 2002, said he has strong leadership experience to bring to the position of chairman.
“I know where we’re going,” Fox said. “I know from experience what I’m talking about.”
Candidate Randy Phelan received 15 percent of the vote to take third in Tuesday’s election. Lewis Kenneth Hall got 7.6 percent for fifth and Marcus Levings took 7.4 percent.

Related Topics: THREE AFFILIATED TRIBES
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