Unofficial Results: Baker Wins Cherokee Principal Chief Election


Tuesday, October 11th 2011, 3:53 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -- Unofficial results indicate the Cherokee Nation is getting a new chief.

With only 51 challenged ballots up for review, Bill John Baker has an insurmountable 1,575-vote lead over incumbent Chad Smith.

Baker immediately reflected on the lengthy campaign.

"It has been a long, hard road but it's over," he said.

His supporters hugged and kissed him, hoping this second election is the final one.

"I'm glad there is a decisive victory. This has gone on long enough and I don't think you can dispute 1500 votes," said Jodie Fishinghawk, Cherokee voter.

But they also know not to celebrate too much until the results are official, which is hard for some Baker supporters.

"We're all excited about this. We have been needing this for a long time," said Cherokee voter Ronnie Troglin.

At the Smith Campaign headquarters, friends gave him a standing ovation for his 12 years in office.

"I'm very thankful and fortunate. I enjoyed my tenure as Principal Chief everyday representing the Cherokee people," Smith said.

Smith says he has no words for Baker right now and Baker says the mudslinging can end.

"The last sharp word should be over. It's time for the healing to begin," Baker said.

The Commission said it will review challenged ballots or any absentee ballots that must manually tallied.

The Election Commission has 48 hours following the unofficial results to certify the election results.

10/9/2011 Related Story: Bill John Baker Leads In Early, Unofficial Cherokee Chief Vote Tallies