The Cherokee Nation elected a new principal chief by just 11 votes and a recount is under way, officials in Oklahoma said.
After a night of counting and recounting, tribal council member Bill John Baker defeated incumbent Principal Chief Chad Smith by a 7,600 to 7,589, the Tulsa World reported Monday.
“Every day on the campaign trail, I have said ‘we all come from one fire,'” Baker said. “Now that the election is over, I hope we can all join together to keep our fire burning brighter than ever before.”
Smith initially appeared to have won the election by less than 10 votes, prompting an all-night recount. In the recount, election officials examined more than 250 challenged ballots and Baker emerged the victor.
“Looking at the big picture, 11 votes is a razor-thin margin that should be examined,” Smith said. “I’d like to think both sides would want there to be some review of that small margin.”