, Muskogee, OK

July 27, 2013

Cherokee runoff election today

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Cherokee voters will determine today who will fill the remaining Cherokee Nation Tribal Council seat.

Incumbent Don Garvin and candidate Mike Dobbins face off for the District 4 seat, which was left undecided June 22 when neither man gained 50 percent plus one vote.

Voting begins at 7 a.m. today and closes at 7 p.m.

Three precincts are open for voting: Warner, Muskogee and Fort Gibson.

Garvin, who has served on the tribal council, received 304 votes, or 43.80 percent in the June election.

He said Friday he hopes to see a better voter turnout today.

“It’s been a long, tough battle, but if we get a good turnout, I think we will win,” Garvin said. “Take somebody with you to vote, a friend, a relative. Take someone and go vote.”

Dobbins received 240 votes, or 34.58 percent of the vote in June’s election.

He said he remains dedicated to improving health care services for Cherokees. And he also hopes to see more voters cast ballots today.

“The primary results signaled the people are ready for a change, so I’ll just encourage our voters to get out and vote,” Dobbins said.

The third candidate in June, Justin Carlton, received 150 votes, or 21.51 percent.

Garvin is a member of the Trail of Tears Association, National Rifle Association, Five Civilized Tribes Association, National Congress of Indians and seven more organizations, he said.

Garvin said the biggest priority he’s identified for the Cherokee Nation is health care.

Since his election to the tribal council, Garvin helped secure the construction of the Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee and the Dialysis Center in Sallisaw, he said.

Dobbins said he has 32 years of health care experience and he, too, said health care is a top priority for the Cherokee people.

Dobbins said he hopes to be a “personable councilman and a servant to the Cherokee people.”

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission will release unofficial results online at after the election.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

Meet Don Garvin

OFFICE SOUGHT: Tribal Council member, District 4 (incumbent).

AGE: 80.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

FAMILY: Wife, Jo Elaine, one daughter, two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.

Occupation: Cherokee Nation tribal councilor.

Education: Central High School, Oklahoma State University. Master’s degree from Southeastern State University. Served in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of captain.

Religious Affiliation: Central Baptist Church.

Hobbies: Jogging, yard work, reading.

Meet Mike Dobbins

OFFICE SOUGHT: Tribal Council member, District 4.

AGE: 60.

HOMETOWN: Fort Gibson.

FAMILY: Wife of 37 years, Terrye, one son, one daughter and four grandsons.

OCCUPATION: Semi-retired dentist.

EDUCATION: Tahlequah High School, 1971; University of Tulsa, bachelor’s degree in zoology, 1975; University of Oklahoma, doctorate of dental surgery, 1981.


HOBBIES: Golf, church work, playing with grandkids.

Your vote counts

WHAT: Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Runoff Election

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

WHERE: Precincts are in Muskogee at Three Rivers Health Center, 1001 S. 41st St. E.; Warner at the Warner School Event Center; and Fort Gibson at the community building, 200 W. Hickory St.