May 24, 2007

Native vote could decide election

American Indians Could Influence 2008 Presidential Vote[T]he “native vote” has become pivotal in some Western states. According to the book, “In 2000, Indian voters helped [Democrat] Maria Cantwell defeat [Republican U.S.] Sen. Slade Gorton [in Washington state], and helped Al Gore carry New Mexico.” Two years later, Indian voters again displayed their potential power. In South Dakota, they provided the winning margin for Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson in his very close re-election bid, and they were credited with helping to elect Democratic Gov. Brad Henry in Oklahoma. Janet Napolitano, the governor of Arizona acknowledged at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that “Without the Native Americans, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

According to an article in the New York Times on September 24, 2004, “In the last few years, political races from Congress to county sheriff have begun to hinge on the Indian vote ... .” Indian tribes also have become big players in campaign contributions, lobbying and running candidates for office. Co-author McCool says that with the growing influence of the Western states in presidential primaries, the Indian vote will become even more important. “I think it’s safe to say that there are specific scenarios where the presidential race could hinge on the vote in some Western states, much like it did on Florida in 2000 or Pennsylvania in 2004. Indian voters have already proven that they can swing statewide elections in Washington, Arizona, New Mexico and South Dakota. If any of these states becomes pivotal in a tight presidential race, the Indian vote could make the difference,” says McCool.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The Native vote in last year's gubernatorial race in Oklahoma indeed was pivotal to the election of Brad Henry, Democrat, and to the resounding defeat of former US Senator Ernest Istook, Republican. Istook resigned to run for Governor and had over the years made many negative statements about Native casinoes and sovereignty among other core Native issues. As had Steve Largent, Republican, when he resigned as a US Representative to run for Governor in the 2002 race. Both times, the Native vote helped send vocal conservative Republicans off into private law firm obscurity. 2008, here we come!
All Best
Russ Bates