Primary Narrows Field for Chief Executive, District I Representative


After the votes were tallied from the June 9 primary election, Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin and former Secretary/Treasurer Carolyn Beaulieu will advance to the August 18 general election, along with District I Representative Sandra Blake and challenger Virgil Wind.

Melanie received 43 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Carolyn. In third place with 16 percent was another former Secretary/Treasurer, Curt Kalk. Wanetta Thompson received 8 percent of the vote, Ronald Davis received 1.5 percent, and Tania Aubid received less than 1 percent.

"I’m both grateful and humbled by the strong showing of support from Band members," said Melanie. "I learned tribal politics from Art Gahbow and Roger Jourdain, who fought all their battles with joy, vigor, and with honor. We have achieved so many big wins for the Band over the past four years and there is more work to do. I look forward to us achieving those victories together."

Carolyn said, "Chi Miigwech to those Band members who voted and all the other candidates that participated in the primary election. The results of the primary election show that a majority of Band members want change. We can begin these changes by using our vote again at the general election on Tuesday, August 18, 2020!"

With over 48 percent of the vote in District I, Virgil Wind came in first in the race for District I Representative.

"Power to the people!" was Virgil’s response. "A very grateful, gracious, heartfelt, THANK YOU to everyone who voted! This thank you extends to everyone who has shown support throughout this campaign. I am very humbled and honored to have the support of such great people. To everyone who entered the election, you are awesome! A special congratulations to Melanie, Carolyn, and Sandi. I respect you all. I am extremely excited, honored, and humbled by the turnout. Together we will change tomorrow!"

Sandra Blake, who has served as District I Representative since 2008, came in second with over 29 percent of the vote.
"Congratulations to Carolyn, Melanie, and Virgil for making it into the general election," said Sandi. "Miigwech to Ginger, Val, and Nick for a great campaign. You are all awesome, and any one of you would make a good district representative. Miigwech to each and every Band member who believes in me and came out and supported me in the primary. I look forward to meeting with constituents and sharing my goals, values, and current work being done in Band Assembly. My colleagues, Representatives Bruneau and St John, support me and the work that I do in Band Assembly, and that vote of confidence says a lot about me. I thank them as well."

Valerie Sam-Harrington came in third in the race for District I Representative with 13 percent of the vote.

A total of 869 ballots were cast: 296 in District I, 44 in District II, 55 in District IIa, 119 in District III, 104 in Minneapolis, 224 by in-person absentee ballot, and 27 by mail-in absentee. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Band members were encouraged to vote by in-person or mail-in absentee ballot.