FARMINGTON — Wallace Charley will face Republican Sammy Ahkeah in San Juan County Commission District 1 election in November.

After a close race, Charley appeared to have defeated Gary Montoya and Eva Stokely.

Unofficial results with all 34 voter convenience centers counted showed Charley had 470 votes, Montoya 382 votes, Stokely received 358 votes and Jerry Jay Todacheene received 290 votes.

District 1 is made up of the western third of San Juan County, including Shiprock. Both Charley and Ahkeah are from Shiprock.

Montoya said he felt like he had a disadvantage going into the elections against Charley and Stokely.

"They both have pretty good name recognition," Montoya said.

Stokely was an elementary school teacher for 30 years and became a principal at a school in the Central Consolidated School District. She has also served on the San Juan College school board and is currently vice president of the Shiprock Associated Schools, Inc.

In the 1990s, Charley served as a state representative. He has also served on the Navajo Nation Council and has previously been a county commissioner.

While Montoya said he thought he was at a disadvantage going into the race, he was not surprised at how close the race was.

Charley also said he wasn't surprised about the tight race.

"I've been out of politics for eight years, so I expected it to go like this," he said.

Charley said he thinks the reason he received the most votes was because of his previous experience and the fact he has worked to represent people in the past.

"It's good to learn that the people still have confidence in me," he said.

He said facing Ahkeah will be a challenge and he has seen Ahkeah doing aggressive campaigning for the primaries even though he was running uncontested.

Charley said he will have to do a lot of campaigning in order to win in November.

Eva B. Stokely
Eva B. Stokely

Running against Montoya made Charley respect his competitor.

"That young man, Montoya, he's going to be up there soon," Charley said.

He said he usually tries to be supportive of young politicians.

"I'm ready to help him if he wants to do something else," Charley said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.

Jerry Jay Todacheene
Jerry Jay Todacheene