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Cherokee Phoenix To Host Candidates Debates

TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix is hosting two debates – one for deputy chief candidates and one for principal chief candidates – beginning at 6 p.m. on April 16 at Northeastern State University.

The debates will be held in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the deputy chief debate will begin at 6 p.m. 

This year there are two candidates running for the Cherokee Nation’s deputy chief office: Meredith Frailey, of Locust Grove; and Bryan Warner, of Sallisaw. The winner will replace Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.

After the deputy chief candidates’ debate and a short intermission, the principal chief candidates’ debate will begin at 7:30 p.m. This year’s principal chief’s race is between Chuck Hoskin Jr., of Vinita; Dick Lay, of Ochelata; and David Walkingstick, of Tahlequah. The winner will replace Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Dylan Goforth, editor in chief of The Frontier, a nonprofit journalism group in Oklahoma, will moderate the debates. The Cherokee Phoenix staff will formulate all debate questions, and no candidate will have prior access to the questions.

Seating in the auditorium will be first-come, first-serve. The debate will also be streamed live on the at and Rogers State University TV at

The Cherokee Phoenix has previously hosted three similar debates in 2007, 2011 and 2015.


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