MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 23, 2013

Smith to run for Cherokee chief again


Associated Press

— TULSA (AP) — A former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation has announced that he will run for his old job in 2015.

Chad Smith announced his candidacy during a news conference Monday in Tulsa, according to a story on the Tulsa World website.

Smith served three terms as chief from 1999 to 2011, when he lost to Bill John Baker. That election included four recounts, a federal intervention and a re-vote.

Smith opposed voting rights for Cherokee freedmen, who are descendants of former slaves. In 2007, he led a campaign to pass a tribal constitutional amendment to bar them from voting. But he lost the re-election campaign after federal officials pressured the tribe to have a second election and count the freedmen votes.

“Some will say that it is best that I not run because of those who oppose me,” Smith said at the news conference. “I say I run because of those who support me.”