Former Navajo Nation Chief Is Working for Congress in Arizona

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Jonathan Nez, a former president of the Navajo Nation, will run as a Democrat for a congressional seat in Arizona — a bid that might make him the primary Native American from the state to be elected to the Home.

The seat, in Arizona’s Second District, is now held by Eli Crane, a freshman lawmaker who was among the many small group of Republicans who voted to oust Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this month. Mr. Nez introduced his candidacy in a video posted Monday on X, the platform previously referred to as Twitter.

“I grew up in a rural, low-income house with out electrical energy or working water,” Mr. Nez stated within the video. “I perceive the struggles that Second District households are dealing with proper now, from the rising prices of meals, gasoline and baby care to more and more devastating wildfires and well being care deserts.”

The sprawling district, which is bigger than a number of states, consists of 14 of the 22 federally acknowledged tribes in Arizona. But it surely leans extra Republican after redistricting final yr.

Mr. Nez, 48, who lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., led the Navajo Nation, one of many largest federally acknowledged tribes within the nation, from 2019 to 2023, a interval marked by an enrollment surge throughout the pandemic. However final fall, he lost his bid for re-election as president of the tribe, a gaggle that tilts Democratic.

Mr. Crane, 43, a former Navy SEAL and a contender on “Shark Tank,” received a crowded Republican main final yr within the district, aided by an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump.

His arrival on Capitol Hill was hardly low key. Firstly of the yr, he was one of many notable holdouts amongst a gaggle of right-wing Republicans who opposed Mr. McCarthy’s election as speaker, voting in opposition to him 14 instances till Mr. McCarthy garnered sufficient votes on the fifteenth poll. He voted “current” on the ultimate poll.

That intraparty struggle performed out once more this month, when Mr. Crane solid his vote to oust Mr. McCarthy.

A minimum of two different candidates have filed to run within the race: Lindsay Bowe, a Democrat, and David Bies, a Libertarian.