FROM THE ARCHIVE
Bush Tribal leaders claim victory
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NOVEMBER 27, 2000

It might be the only time or perhaps just the first, but the elections have both Texas Governor George W. Bush and tribal leaders proclaiming victory.

Amid the watchful eyes of the nation and to cheering crowds in Tallahassee, Katherine Harris, Florida's Secretary of State, on Sunday certified election results there. Despite mounting legal challenges from Vice President Al Gore's campaign, and a pending United States Supreme Court hearing on Friday, Bush heartily accepted his 537-vote win.

"Secretary Cheney and I are honored and humbled to have won the state of Florida, which gives us the needed electoral votes to win the election," said Bush in Texas. "We will therefore undertake the responsibility of preparing to serve as America's next president and vice president."

Whether or not Bush's acceptance will hold true remains to be seen. Gore is challenging the counts in Palm Beach, whose updated results were ignored by Harris due to their lateness and her denial of an extension to the county, Miami-Dade, where recounts were suspended last week, and Nassau.

But even if he won those, he has to face the Supreme Court. In a move which surprised many, the Court agreed to hear Bush's challenge to the Florida ruling which led to Sunday's revised certification.

Also, the General Services Adminstration (GSA), which controls transition funds and offices on Capitol Hill, said Bush can't start acting like the President-elect just yet. Bush appointed Cheney head of his transition team but the pending legal challenges will prevent the release of $5.3 million in federal funds for them.

On the other side of the country, the news that Democrat Maria Cantwell has defeated Republican Slade Gorton for Washington's Senate seat has tribal leaders there proclaiming victory for all of Indian Country. Cantwell inched past Gorton to claim a lead of 1,953 votes.

"The defeat of Slade Gorton, and the politics he represented (that ofdivision, blame and castigation of the powerless) is a double victory forIndian Country," said the First Americans Education Project (FAEP).

Formed by Ron Allen, Chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Billy Frank, Jr., Nisqually Tribe, and Joe De La Cruz, the Quinault Nation leader who passed away in April, the FAEP said it helped educate the public by informing them of Gorton's public service record. But they also said his defeat has sounded a warning.

"Gorton's loss sends a message across the US that politicians who so aggressively fight to destroy Indian sovereignty and mistreat Indian people will do so at their own political peril," said the FAEP.

Under state law, Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro is expected to call a recount of the election today. The recount would begin on Wednesday and is expected to take a few days. But should Cantwell or Gorton challenge those results, they would have to put up some money to have them recounted: 5 cents per ballot counted.

And although Cantwell could probably afford it, its doubtful she or Gorton will challenge the certification, which is due by December 7.

Watch/Read Bush:
VIDEO: George W. Bush's Acceptance Speech (AP 11/26)
TEXT: George W. Bush Claims Victory in Fla. (eMediaMillWorks 11/26)

Watch/Read Lieberman:
VIDEO: Sen. Joseph Lieberman Announces Election Contests (AP 11/26)
TEXT: Sen. Lieberman Protests Certification (eMediaMillWorks 11/26)

Get the Washington Numbers:
Washington State General Election (Washington Secretary of State)

Related Stories:
Gorton defeated, unofficially (Politics 11/24)
Presidential election update (Politics 11/24)

Related Stories:
First American Education Project - www.first-americans.net

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