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Incumbent Defeated in Cherokee Election (Jun 27, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Bill John Baker has been elected the new principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, but his 11-vote margin of victory may spur a recount.

Baker was declared the winner Sunday morning, with about 15,000 votes cast. Tribal officials spent the night in private, considering whether to accept or reject provisional ballots, until they finally declared a winner.

The incumbent, Chad Smith, stopped short of saying he'd ask for a recount. But he said in a statement on his website that he would "examine the record" over the next few days and ensure the election was conducted properly and that votes were counted accurately.

Cherokee Nation election rules say Smith will have to decide by Wednesday whether to seek a recount.

The recount would have to be completed by Friday.

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