CHOCTAW, Miss. (AP) — A challenger leads the current chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians as the election for chief heads to a runoff.

Cyrus Ben was ahead of Chief Phyliss Anderson as tribal officials counted absentee votes Wednesday. With six candidates in the race Tuesday, neither Ben nor Anderson received a majority needed to win.

About 3,500 people voted.

Tribal spokeswoman Misty Brescia says a runoff must happen within 30 days, but a date was not immediately set.

Anderson was first elected in 2011, defeating incumbent Beasley Denson

The 11,000-member tribe controls three casinos and other businesses. Its reservation stretches across 35,000 acres (14,000 hectares) in parts of 10 Mississippi counties.

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