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Bill John Baker set to become new leader of Cherokee Nation
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: bill john baker, chad smith, cherokee, elections, freedmen, oklahoma, tribal courts
 
Bill John Baker has won election as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, according to unofficial results.

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission on Wednesday said Baker received 10,633 votes. Chad Smith, who was the incumbent chief, received 9,099 votes.

“The Cherokee people have spoken and I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead our great nation the next four years,” Baker said in a statement. “This has been a difficult and tough campaign for everyone but the campaign is behind us.”

The results came as the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court threw a potential wrinkle into the election. In a new decision, the five justices said an agreement that the tribe entered into in federal court was "unenforceable" in tribal court.

The agreement allowed the Freedmen, who are descendants of former slaves, to vote in the election. It also extended voting for all Cherokee citizens -- which led to an increase in the number of ballots that were cast.

Baker's campaign, however, insisted that he won the race regardless of the Freedmen vote. Smith has yet to concede although he acknowledged that he was behind in the unofficial tally.

Get the Story:
Baker holds lead in unofficial Cherokee vote tally (The Muskogee Phoenix 10/12)
Cherokee court's ruling may affect Baker's apparent election win (The Tulsa World 10/12)
Cherokee Freedmen encouraged by election of new chief (The Los Angeles Times 10/12)
Cherokee Nation: Unofficial tally shows challenger with insurmountable lead in chief vote (AP 10/11)

Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Decisions:
Vann v. Salazar (October 11, 2011)
Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (August 22, 2011)

Related Stories:
Cherokee Nation without HUD funds amid Freedmen dispute (10/11)
Cherokee Nation begins counting of ballots for principal chief (10/10)
Cherokee Nation anticipates results of election by Wednesday (10/7)
Opinion: Greed and racism with removal of Cherokee Freedmen (10/6)
Cherokee Nation extends balloting in ongoing Freedmen dispute (9/28)
Cherokee Nation faces contempt order in Freedmen vote dispute (9/27)
Cherokee Nation sees increase in turnout for second election (9/26)
Results of Cherokee Nation principal chief vote due October 10 (9/23)
Column: Freedmen dispute a sad story for the Cherokee Nation (9/23)
Letter: Cherokee Freedmen dustup about sovereignty not race (9/23)
Judge approves order for Freedmen vote in Cherokee election (9/22)
Cherokee Nation allows Freedmen to vote in Saturday's election (9/21)
Federal judge to hear arguments in Cherokee Freedmen lawsuit (9/20)
NPR: Cherokee Nation facing scrutiny for ousting the Freedmen (9/20)
Cherokee Nation starts sending provisional ballots to Freedmen (9/16)
NYT: Tribal rights vs. racial justice in Cherokee Freedmen battle (9/16)
Blog: Rush Limbaugh offers take on Cherokee Freedmen dispute (9/16)
Steve Russell: The circus that has become the Cherokee Nation (9/15)
Cherokee Nation to allow Freedmen to cast provisional ballots (9/15)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation faces pressure on fate of Freedmen (9/15)
Acting Cherokee Nation chief vows to protect tribe's interests (9/14)
BIA warns Cherokee Nation about disenrollment of Freedmen (9/13)
Lawmakers want HUD to restore funding to Cherokee Nation (9/12)
HUD won't release funds to Cherokee Nation in Freedmen flap (9/8)
Judge sets hearing on Freedmen motion for Cherokee election (9/6)
Freedmen eye lawsuit in federal court over Cherokee election (8/30)
Freedmen seek appeal for loss of Cherokee Nation citizenship (8/29)
Jay Tavare: Divide and conquer -- disenrollment among tribes (8/25)
Turtle Talk: Tribal courts, treaty rights and treaty rights disputes (8/25)
Cherokee Freedmen lose right to vote in upcoming chief election (8/24)
Decision allows Cherokee Nation to remove Freedmen from rolls (8/23)Steve Russell: The circus that has become the Cherokee Nation (9/15)


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