Fond du Lac chair takes commanding primary winChairwoman Karen Diver had 543 votes. Her nearest challenger was former chairman Peter Defoe, who had 259 votes. They will face each other in the general election June 12 as the top two candidates in the primary move on.
By: Pine Journal staff, Pine Journal
Incumbent Chairwoman Karen Diver enjoyed a commanding victory in the primary election Tuesday for leadership of the Fond du Lac Band.
Diver had 543 votes. Her nearest challenger was former chairman Peter Defoe, who had 259 votes. They will face each other in the general election June 12 as the top two candidates in the primary move on.
“It’s nice to be through the primary with such a commanding lead,” Diver said Tuesday night as unofficial results came in.
She said voter turnout was at one of the highest levels seen in a primary as 36 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in races for the top job with the band and for two districts. Diver said the 1,262 voters was a strong showing since many tribal members do not live in the region.
Diver was expected to face competition in Defoe, who Diver replaced in 2007 after he stepped down. Defoe had served as chairman from 2004 to 2006.
“You don’t try to take anything for granted,” Diver said of a race that involved eight other candidates, none of whom received more than 100 votes.
Defoe knows he has a tough road if he hopes to upset Diver. “She crushed all of us,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Defoe said he’s glad the general election is two months away. “That’s a long time” to play catch-up, he said.
The District representative races were definitive as well. In District 1 (Cloquet), incumbent Wally Dupuis got 375 votes. He will face Kelly Diver in June as she received 111 votes. The highest total of the remaining 10 challengers was Thomas Whitebird’s 71.
In District 3 (Brookston) Kevin Dupuis Sr. had 81 votes and will face Bryan Bosto (57) to be the new representative to replace Mary Northrup, who died last year.
Diver has made news in recent months in a battle with the city of Duluth over division of the revenue from Fond-du-Luth Casino. The band also runs Black Bear Casino south of Cloquet.
Diver was expected to face stiff competition from Defoe.
In his candidate statement released before the primary, Defoe said he’d like to see more tribal members in management positions at the tribe’s casinos and other operations. He also urged the band to be a better partner with its members and the community at large.