Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary

Outgoing Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Photo by Rick Abasta/Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President

Voters of the Navajo Nation went to the polls on Tuesday and chose an old face and a new face to run for president.

Incumbent Ben Shelly made a weak showing, coming in seventh out of 17 candidates. He will leave office after just one term.

"Ahe'hee to all the voters who came out to support us today. We appreciate your vote and support," Shelly said on Facebook. "Although we did not make it past the primary election, we still have a lot of work ahead of us before Jan. 2015."

Joe Shirley Jr., a former two-term president of the Navajo Nation, is seeking another term in office. Photo from Facebook

Joe Shirley Jr. made a strong showing and won the most votes in the primary. He served two terms in office and is familiar to many in Indian Country.

Chris Deschene, far left, with his supporters. Photo from Facebook

Chris Deschene, a former state lawmaker from Arizona, represents the new face. He came in second in the primary, trailing Shirley by just 1,176 votes, according to the unofficial results.

"We did it!" Deschene said on Facebook. "After some good hard work, Team Deschene will go on to general elections for #Navajo Nation President!"

Shelly went to Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation, to congratulate Shirley and Deschene last night. The pair will face each other in the November 4 general election.

Unofficial results from the Navajo Nation primary vote for the office of the president. Image from Navajo Times / Facebook

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Navajo voters send former president, one-time Arizona lawmaker on to general election (AP 8/26)

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