Jonathan Nez selects political newcomer Chad Abeyta as VP candidate

File - In this Jan. 15, 2019, file photo, from left, Dottie Lizer, Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer, first lady Phefelia Herbert Nez and Navajo President Jonathan Nez sit onstage during the tribal inauguration in Fort Defiance, Ariz. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca, File)

Navajo President Jonathan Nez announced Monday that he’s selected a political newcomer who is a lawyer and Air Force veteran to be his running mate in the general election.

Nez introduced Chad Abeyta, 33, during an address in the tribal capital of Window Rock. Nez outlined qualities that included family values and a bootstrap mentality in explaining why he chose Abeyta to join his ticket.

Abeyta is from the New Mexico portion of the reservation, and Nez is from Arizona. Selecting a running mate from a different region of the reservation is a strategic move to try to draw in more voters.

Nez will face Buu Nygren in the tribe’s general election in November. They were the top two vote-getters among 15 presidential hopefuls in last week’s primary election.

Nygren, who has a background in construction management, is expected to announce his vice presidential pick later Monday.

Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.