Tribal runoff winners announced

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

The two incumbents in Saturday’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians runoffs will hold their seats.

Tribal treasurer Robert McGhee beat Gia Langham, 567 votes to 321, while tribal secretary David Gehman narrowly defeated challenger Tim Ramer, 450 votes to 431.

Elections were held in June, but the treasurer and secretary races came down to runoffs.

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Gehman was first elected secretary in 2010, while McGhee has already served two terms on the tribal council.

Gehman, who is headed into his fifth term, also served previously as treasurer after first being elected to tribal office in 1995.

Following the election, Gehman said he is honored to have been chosen once again for the office of secretary.

“There are a lot of people I could thank,” Gehman said. “I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to serve once again. I’m happy about the support people have shown to me and the confidence they have in me to be a voice for the leadership of this tribe. We have been blessed as a tribe. The growth of the tribe has been staggering, to say the least. We want to see that continue. That’s good for everybody. It has a positive influence on our community and our state.”

Gehman said, while he is proud of the strides the tribe has made since gaining federal recognition in 1984, he knows battles remain ahead, including an ongoing legal dispute with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange over the legality of bingo machines inside casinos owned by PCI.

“I hope the day will come that the relationship between the state and the tribe will be such that we don’t have to resort to the attorney general filing a lawsuit that is unnecessary,” Gehman said. “I’d like to reach out to Big Luther and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you sit down with us. Give us the opportunity to sit down and show you who we are.’ I’d like to invite the governor to come visit us and meet the people and see how we have impacted the quality of life, not just here, but across the state and the Southeast.”

McGhee could not be reached for comment following Saturday’s runoff elections, but will begin his fourth year as PCI’s tribal treasurer and his 10th year as a tribal councilman.