In this year’s special election for Cherokee Nation Principal Chief, we worked on behalf of the challenger, Bill John Baker to take on the 12-year incumbent, Chad Smith, who expected to cruise to victory.
We launched an intensive telephone voter contact program to identify supporters, persuade undecideds and turn out voters, especially historically disenfranchised Cherokees. When the votes were counted, the initial tally showed Bill John Baker ahead by just 11 votes, but the tribe’s election commission certified Smith as the winner by 7 votes. A recount then showed Baker up by 266 votes, and when that tally was challenged by Smith, the Cherokee Supreme Court ordered a new election.
So we went back to work, making an additional 55,000 contacts over 18 rounds of calling, to persuade undecideds and turn out supporters. When the results of the revote were in, Bill John Baker lead by 1,534 votes, a decisive outcome!
Campaigns and Elections wrote this fascinating case study on how Bill John Baker came to defeat a 12-year incumbent.