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The election race for the top job in the Tlicho government has begun.

Four men were nominated for Grand Chief at the Tlicho assembly in Behchoko, N.W.T., on Thursday.

Two longtime rivals — current Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus and former Grand Chief George Mackenzie are in the race.

Former Whati chief, Charlie Nitsiza is also vying for the job for the second time. He was a candidate in 2009 but lost to Joe Rabesca.

Russell Drybones is also in the race. He has never run for Grand Chief but is a former community government councillor and has served on various Tlicho boards.

This will be the fourth consecutive Grand Chief election in which Mackenzie and Erasmus have run.

Mackenzie has run in each of the four Grand Chief elections that have been held since the Tlicho Agreement was signed. He won the first, in 2005, to become the first Grand Chief of the newly-formed Tlicho government.

Mackenzie survived a rebellion by three chiefs midway through his term, only to lose his 2009 re-election bid to Joe Rabesca, the man who led the Tlicho to self-government.

After losing to Rabesca in the 2009 election, Erasmus began his run as Grand Chief by winning a by-election in 2011 after Rabesca resigned just before being charged with sexual assault. Erasmus was re-elected in 2013 and again in 2014.

The Tlicho will elect the next grand chief on Sept. 11.

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