Archived News

Seventeen candidates vie for two seats in special election

Seventeen candidates vie for two seats in special election

Voters in Cherokee’s Dec. 15 special election will choose from a crowded field of candidates seeking to fill two unexpected vacancies on Tribal Council.

The list of candidates for the Painttown seat left open following the death of 12-term Rep. Tommye Saunooke includes two former representatives, Marie Junaluska and Lisa Taylor, among the eight candidates filing to run. Lou Jackson, who chaired the EBCI Board of Elections until resigning her post to run, is in the mix as well. Sean “Michael” Stamper, Jeff Thompson, Stephanie Maney, Bentley Tahquette and André Brown have also launched campaigns. 

Wolfetown/Big Y voters will choose a replacement for Dennis Edward “Bill” Taylor, who resigned his seat Oct. 16 in the wake of criminal charges stemming from an alleged incident of domestic violence. Chelsea Taylor, who won the seat in 2019 but lost her re-election campaign in 2021, will seek to reclaim her former position. Jess Sneed, chairman of the Wolfetown Community Club, and former Reps. Mike Parker and Susan Coleen Toineeta will also be among the nine candidates. Amy Sequoyah Anders, Andrew W. Oocumma, Frank Dunn, Theodore “Teddy” Michael Bird and Sam “Frell” Reed are all seeking election to the seat.  

Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, with no early or absentee voting. The winning candidate will serve until the winner of the next election, slated for Sept. 7, 2023, is seated Oct. 2. 

The Smoky Mountain News plans to publish additional information about the candidates prior to the election. Candidates wishing to participate can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.