Flagstaff, AZ – Ben Shelly defeated New Mexico State Senator Lynda Lovejoy by about 35 hundred votes in a hard-fought campaign. Lovejoy was vying to become the first woman ever elected President of the Navajo Nation. But Shelly also made history he'll be the first Navajo Nation president ever from New Mexico.
He told a cheering crowd in Window Rock and the audience of Navajo radio station KTNN that he won ``with the help of the people.''
"She gave us a good run. I was worried about half way through the count, wondering what's going to happen, but we pulled through, someone's got to win, someone's got to lose, and I'm glad I'm the winner."
He also pledged to work closely with the Navajo Nation council, which Navajo voters recently cut from 88 to 24 delegates.
"We're going to change this nation, create jobs, economic development, you'll be happy, we're just going to work I am happy, thank you!!"
Meanwhile criminal complaints allege that Shelly unlawfully took nearly nine thousand dollars in tribal discretionary funds to benefit himself and his family while he served on the Tribal Council. He has pleaded not guilty, saying the money was for legitimate hardships, and that he's not a crook.