Cyrus Ben shared a photo of his mother on social media during his campaign for chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. "Moving forward with the love & encouragement from my biggest fan," Ben wrote.

Cyrus Ben wins election as chief of Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has a new leader for the first time in nearly a decade.

Cyrus Ben, a former council member, defeated incumbent Phyliss J. Anderson for the position of chief in a run-off election on Tuesday. Unofficial results shared by the tribe Ben with 2,068 votes to 1,1109 for Anderson.

“It was evident in the election, as our Choctaw people went to the polls that they want change. They want a leader who is respectful, who is fair and will stand by them," Ben told Kicks96News. "And as our slogan has been since we started, we want to move together in the right direction and I look forward for this opportunity to be their leader."

Posted by Cyrus Ben for Tribal Chief 2019 on Monday, June 3, 2019

Anderson served two terms as chief of Mississippi's sole federally recognized tribe. She had focused on her record of the last eight years in seeking another term.

"I still have goals for our future that I hope we can work towards together in Unity as Choctaws," Anderson said as voters went to the polls on Tuesday.

Anderson was the first woman to lead the tribe. She defeated the incumbent Beasley Denson in 2011 twice after the first results were invalidated by the council. She won a second term in 2015, also overcoming a challenge by Denson.

Posted by Chief Phyliss J Anderson on Monday, July 1, 2019

Denson had only served one term in office. He was the tribe's first new leader in decades -- in 2007, he defeated the late Phillip Martin, who led the Mississippi Band for more than 30 years and was considered a visionary in Indian Country.

Denson ran again this year and was among six candidates for chief. But he polled low in the June 11 election. Ben and Anderson, on the other hand, won the most votes. Since neither received a majority, however, the run-off was scheduled.

Read More on the Story
Cyrus Ben wins MBCI Tribal Chief Election (Kicks96News July 2, 2019)
Ben defeats Anderson to win Choctaw Tribal Chief runoff election (The Neshoba Democrat July 2, 2019)
Cyrus Ben defeats Chief Anderson in Tribal Chief runoff (WTOK July 2, 2019)
MBCI Chief runoff is Tuesday (WTOK July 1, 2019)

Join the Conversation