Calls to Benally and Atcitty were not returned Wednesday. Benally's Republican opponent, Morgan, previously served as county commissioner as a Democrat. He is now running as a Republican. The winner of their race will replace Kenneth Maryboy, a longtime county commissioner who is running for Navajo Nation president.
Unoffiical results from the primary showed Benally with a 54 percent majority. Schafer says this was a "pretty tight" vote for San Juan, though definitive. Turnout in the county more than doubled when compared to the 2010 primary election, largely because the county went to a mail-in ballot.
Benally stressed education and literacy in her campaign. She has worked as a teacher, principal and administrator for more than 20 years. She served on the Navajo Nation Board of Education and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
"The importance of education is vital in understanding current laws, resolutions and governmental procedures, especially as a leader," she said in an op-ed for The San Juan Record.
Atcitty is somewhat of a liaison between oil reserves and the Navajo tribe, currently working with the Resolute Energy Corporation in public affairs. He ran on a platform that included bettering care for senior citizens, improving roadways and resolving ongoing conflicts between San Juan County and the state of Utah.
San Juan County has three commissioners, including Phil Lyman, who is running uncontested. Lyman is known for his ATV ride through Recapture Canyon this May to protest against the Bureau of Land Management's leadership over Utah's public lands.