In a close election Bill John Baker sent Hall of Shame member Chad Smith packing. May he do what's right by the Cherokee Freedmen. Congratulations to the Nation,for ridding itself of an individual that has done so much harm to so many.
More than 15,000 votes were cast, and the margin between the men had been fewer than 30 since late Saturday.
The Cherokee Nation is Oklahoma's largest American Indian tribe and one of the nation's biggest, with a membership approaching 300,000 people. The Tahlequah-based tribe has a 14-county jurisdiction in eastern Oklahoma.
Baker, a Tahlequah businessman, will take the oath of office on Aug. 14.
The campaign between Baker and Smith was often contentious. The two men combined to spend nearly a half-million dollars as they sought the chief's job.
During the campaign, Smith emphasized the tribe's economic success during his tenure. He touted the creation of more than 5,000 "stable jobs" by the tribe during the past decade and said that most of those jobs had gone to Cherokees, something Baker disputed.
Baker criticized Smith for using a tribal airplane for travel and called for the tribe to spend more of its gaming revenues on health care. Baker said the tribe shouldn't settle for being good when it could be better