Tied Bradenton Beach mayoral race decided by deck of cards

By Summer Smith, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 04, 2015, 9:23 PM EST

Bill Shearon won the Bradenton Beach mayoral race in a tie-breaker that was decided in an unusual way.

Shearon was named the winner Wednesday after a recount showed him still tied with incumbent Jack Clarke with 195 votes each.

After a recount found the same number of votes for each candidate, officials used a deck of cards to determine the winner.

Clarke, the current mayor, pulled a 10 of clubs, while Shearon, the former mayor, pulled an ace of clubs.

"It is what it is," Shearon said. "I guess it was the luck of the draw."

In the event of a tie, as in this race, state law mandates it be decided by a lot. The canvassing board determined a deck of cards would be the best way to go.

It was a disappointing outcome for Clarke, who was close to winning.

"I would have preferred to continue as mayor but we complied with all the laws," he said. "The election was over yesterday, and we move on.”

Just six months ago, Clarke successfully defeated Shearon in a recall election that stemmed from a Sunshine law violation accusation.

Now that Shearon's back, he says the latest race serves as a reminder that every vote counts.

Election officials said 50 percent of voters participated in the Bradenton Beach election, which is a pretty high turnout.

Shearon will be sworn in as mayor on Nov. 16.

The cards that decided the election: Shearon pulled an ace of clubs and won the election. (Summer Smith, staff)