Cherokees: Oops, the Other Guy Won Election
Councilman Bill John Baker's victory was just too unlikely...
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 27, 2011 4:49 PM CDT
In this June 6, 2011 file photo, incumbent Chad Smith, candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is pictured during an interview after a televised debate in Claremore, Okla.   (AP Photo/David Crenshaw, File)
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(Newser) – Lo and behold, Cherokee Nation officials have reversed unofficial election results, saying the tribe's longtime leader was re-elected in Saturday's voting. Unofficial results had shown longtime councilman Bill John Baker defeating Principal Chief Chad Smith by 11 votes yesterday. But Smith actually did win his fourth term as chief by a mere seven-vote margin, Cherokee Election Commission clerk said today. Official results show Smith won with 7,609 votes to Baker's 7,602 votes.

Smith says he is pleased by the commission's action and his staff is jubilant. He had announced plans to challenge the results of the election before the announcement. Smith says he expects Baker to challenge the official results. Baker was not immediately available for comment.