Lady Luck Decides Town Council Winner In Arizona A local election in the Phoenix area ended in a tie last month. The two men vying for a town council seat in Cave Creek each received 660 votes. But rather than head to court, they decided to settle the race with a deck of cards.

Lady Luck Decides Town Council Winner In Arizona

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Maybe the competing sides on health care could settle disputes like they do in Arizona, where a Phoenix area local election ended in a tie. Renee Gutel reports from member station KJZZ.

RENEE GUTEL: Cave Creek, Arizona is the kind of bedroom community where there are more saguaro cactus than people.

When a town council race last month produced a tie between two candidates, Mayor Vincent Francia floated his idea for settling the race, cowboy style.

Mayor VINCENT FRANCIA (Cave Creek, Arizona): That the two candidates would assemble downtown Cave Creek at high noon and go at it with paintballs.

(Soundbite of theme to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly")

GUTEL: Instead they turned to Arizona law, which says tied local elections can be determined by chance - either through rolling dice, flipping a coin or cutting cards.

(Soundbite of deck of cards)

GUTEL: That's Cave Creek Magistrate George Preston, dressed in his black robes, shuffling the deck of cards last night that would finally decide the race. About 60 people crowded council chambers, including a few lawyers who had hashed out two pages of rules for the drawing.

Aces would be high and the judge would shuffle the deck six times.

Mayor FRANCIA: And we're just about halfway through the shuffle. Three…

GUTEL: Mayor Francia emceed the drawing. Incumbent Thomas McGuire cut the deck first.

Mr. THOMAS MCGUIRE (Town Council Member): Here's to the good citizens, the town of Cave Creek, and a Western tradition.

Magistrate GEORGE PRESTON: McGuire, six of hearts.

Mayor FRANCIA: Six of hearts, Thomas McGuire.

GUTEL: Then challenger Adam Trenk stepped forward for his turn.

Mayor FRANCIA: And the cut of the cards.

(Soundbite of applause)

GUTEL: Frank pulled a king of hearts, and McGuire politely conceded. Trenk pocketed the card as a keepsake. He said he was happy with the result, but only to a point.

Mr. FRANK TRENK (Town Council Winner): It's a little disheartening that seven months of hard work would be decided by a game of chance like that. But I understand that that's the law of the state.

GUTEL: In the end, Trenk said he still felt he'd been elected by a vote of the people — with a little help from Lady Luck.

For NPR News, I'm Renee Gutel.

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